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I Bequest of 


I ISIO - 1936 



,0 >: 

Hppletone' Ibomc 1?caMnQ BOOR0 





Natural History 








<^ tlje ilIletn0rB of 

tng iTatljer. 


Thb new education takes two important direc- 
tions — one of these is toward original observation, 
requiring the pupil to test and verify what is taught 
him at school by his own experiments. The infor- 
mation that he learns from books or hears from his 
teacher's lips must be assimilated by incorporating it 
vrith his own experience. 

The other direction pointed out by the new edu- 
cation is systematic home reading. It forms a part of 
school extension of all kinds. The so-called " Univer- 
sity Exte'iision " that originated at Cambridge and Ox- 
ford has as its chief feature the aid of home reading by 
lectures and round-table discussions, led or conducted 
by experts who also lay out the course of reading. 
The Chautauquan movement in this country prescribes 
a series of excellent books and furnishes for a goodly 
number of its readers annual courses of lectures. The 
teachers' reading circles that exist in many States pre- 
scribe the books to be read, and publish some analysis, 
commentary, or catechism to aid the members. 

Home reading, it seems, furnishes the essential 
basis of this great movement to extend education 

• • 


beyond the school and to make self -culture a habit 
of life. 

Looking more carefully at the difference between 
the two directions of the new education we can see 
what each accomplishes. There is first an effort to 
train the original powers of the individual and make 
him self -active, quick at observation, and free in his 
thinking. Next, the new education endeavors, by the 
reading of books and the study of the wisdom of the 
race, to make the child or youth a participator in the 
results of experience of all mankind. 

These two movements may be made antagonistic 
by poor teaching. The book knowledge, containing as 
it does the precious lesson of human experience, may 
be so taught as to bring with it only dead rules of 
conduct, only dead scraps of information, and no 
stimulant to original thinking. Its contents may be 
memorized without being understood. On the other 
hand, the self -activity of the child may be stimulated 
at the expense of his social well-being — ^his originality 
may be cultivated at the expense of his rationality. 
If he is taught persistently to have his own way, to 
trust only his own senses, to cling to his own opinions 
heedless of the experience of his fellows, he is pre- 
paring for an unsuccessful, misanthropic career, and 
is likely enough to end his life in a madhouse. 

It is admitted that a too exclusive study of the 
knowledge found in books, the knowledge which is 
aggregated from the experience and thought of other 
people, may result in loading the mind of the pupil 
with material which he can not use to advantage. 


Some minds are so full of lumber that there is no 
space left to set up a workshop. The necessity of 
uniting both of these directions of intellectual activity 
in the schools is therefore obvious, but we must not, 
in this place, fall into the error of supposing that it is 
the oral instruction in school and the personal influ- 
ence of the teacher alone that excites the pupil to ac- 
tivity. Book instruction is not always dry and theo- 
retical. The very persons who declaim against the 
book, and praise in such strong terms the self -activity 
of the pupil and original research, are mostly persons 
who have received their practical impulse from read- 
ing the writings of educational reformers. Yery few 
persons have received an impulse from personal con- 
tact with inspiring teachers compared with the num- 
ber that have received an impulse from such books as 
Herbert Spencer's Treatise on Education, Kousseau's 
Emile, Pestalozzi's Leonard and Gertrude, Francis 
W. Parker's Talks about Teaching, G. Stanley 
Hall's Pedagogical Seminary. Think in this connec- 
tion, too, of the impulse to observation in natural sci- 
ence produced by such books as those of Hugh Miller, 
Faraday, Tyndall, Huxley, Agassiz, and Darwin. 

The new scientific book is different from the old. 
The old style book of science gave dead results where 
the new one gives not only the results, but a minute 
account of the method employed in reaching those re- 
sults. An insight into the method employed in dis- 
covery trains the reader into a naturalist, an historian, 
a sociologist. The books of the writers above named 
have done more to stimulate original research on the 


part of their readers than adl other influences com- 

It is therefore much more a matter of importance 
to get the right kind of book than to get a living 
teacher. The book which teaches results, and at the 
same time gives in an intelligible manner the steps of 
discovery and the methods employed, is a book 
which will stimulate the student to repeat the ex- 
periments described and get beyond these into fields 
of original research himself. Every one remem- 
bers the published lectures of Faraday on chemistry, 
which exercised a wide influence in changing the style 
of books on natural science, causing them to deal 
with method more than results, and thus to train 
the reader's power of conducting original research. 
Robinson Crusoe for nearly two hundred years has 
stimulated adventure and prompted young men to 
resort to the border lands of civilization. A Ubrary 
of home reading should contain books that stimulate 
to self -activity and arouse the spirit of inquiry. The 
books should treat of methods of discovery and evo- 
lution. All nature is unified by the discovery of 
the law of evolution. Each and every being in the 
world is now explained by the process of development 
to which it belongs. Every fact now throws light on 
all the others by illustrating the process of growth in 
which each has its end and aim. 

The Home Reading Books are to be classed as 
follows : 

First Dwision. Natural history, including popular 
scientific treatises on plants and animals, and also de- 


scriptions of geographical localities. The branch of 
study in the district school course which corresponds 
to this is geography. Travels and sojourns in distant 
lands; special writings which treat of this or that 
animal or plant, or family of animals or plants ; any- 
thing that relates to organic nature or to meteorol- 
ogy, or descriptive astronomy may be placed in this 

Second Division. Whatever relates to physics or 
natural philosophy, to the statics or dynamics of air or 
water or light or electricity, or to the properties of 
matter ; whatever relates to chemistry, either organic 
or inorganic — ^books on these subjects belong to the 
class that relates to what is inorganic. Even the so- 
called organic chemistry relates to the analysis of 
organic bodies into their inorganic compounds. 

Third Division. History and biography and eth- 
nology. Books relating to the lives of individuals, and 
especially to the social life of the nation, and to the 
collisions of nations in war, as well as to the aid that 
one gives to another through commerce in times of 
peace; books on ethnology relating to the manners 
and customs of savage or civilized peoples ; books on 
the primitive manners and customs which belong to 
the earliest human beings — ^books on these subjects be- 
long to the third class, relating particularly to the hu- 
man will, not merely the individual will but the social 
will, the will of the tribe or nation ; and to this third 
class belong also books on ethics and morals, and on 
forms of government and laws, and what is included 
under the term civics or the duties of citizenship. 


Fourth Division. The fourth class of books in- 
cludes more especially literature and works that make 
known the beautiful in such departments as sculpture, 
painting, architecture and music. Literature and art 
show human nature in the form of feelings, emotions, 
and aspirations, and they show how these feeUngs 
lead over to deeds and to clear thoughts. This de- 
partment of books is perhaps more important than 
any other in our home reading, inasmuch as it teaches 
a knowledge of human nature and enables us to un- 
derstand the motives that lead our fellow-men to 

To each book is added an analysis in order to aid 
the reader in separating the essential points from the 
unessential, and give each its proper share of atten- 

W. T. Haeeis. 

WiiSHiNGTON, D. C, November 16, 1896. 


The various haps and mishaps herein related oc- 
curred at a time so remote that now, in retrospection, 
they appear to me like the doings of some one else, 
or at least of my own in another state of existence ; 
for I was then nineteen years younger than at the 
moment of penning these lines. The world was all 
before me, mine but to conquer, and alluring Hope 
was ever beckoning me on from one achievement to 

My exploration of Crusoe's isle was not altogether 
fortuitous, since I had it in mind for many years and 
had already equipped myseK for the attempt by pre- 
vious endeavor in related fields. Sent out to make 
an ornithological investigation of the Lesser Antilles, 
under the auspices of the Smithsonian Institution, I 
found myself at the termination of my labors craving 
new worlds to conquer and a wider range of observa- 
tion. Then occurred to me the dream of my youth, 
my determination to search out the truth respecting a 
hero of my earlier years, one Robinson Crusoe, mari- 
ner, who, it appeared to me, had long lain under a 

• • • 



cloud of misrepresentation — ^that is, he had been con- 
founded with one Alexander Selkirk, and the scenes 
of their respective adventures somehow most woeful- 
ly mixed. 

It was not from a desire, whether laudable or 
otherwise, to rehabilitate either one of these worthies, 
nor to set myself up as a meddlesome iconoclast, 
that I undertook to disentangle the woof of fiction 
from the warp of truth. It was, in fact, nothing less 
than a love of adventure and an excuse for indulging 
in it, that led me to dwell alone in an island, remote 
from home and friends. The love for adventure was 
bom in me ; the excuse was necessary to placate the 
outraged sensibilities of the staid community in which 
my boyhood had been passed, where any departure 
from prescribed custom was frowned upon and any 
yielding to sentiment severely reprobated. 

However that may have been, and however ready 
others will be to proscribe me for having invaded the 
sacred precincts of the past, I would call attention to 
the fact that I have not sought to destroy any precon- 
ceived idol of the popular mind, only to restore it to 
its proper niche I 

In a word, ever since Defoe gave to the world his 
inimitable creation, Robinson Crusoe, his readers (and 
there have been millions of them) have persisted in 
locating the chief character of the immortal work in 
a different part of the world from that which the au- 
thor intended. 

Not that it makes any great difference ; but since 
I happened to have discovered the truth (or in com- 


mon with a few others to have perceived it), I deem 
it desirable to publish the fact. As proof of my 
statement that Crusoe's island lies north of the equa- 
tor, instead of to the south of it, the following pages 
are offered in evidence. 

And in these pages I proffer a description of the 
veritable island in which Robinson Crusoe lived his 
lonely life, the scene of his wreck, his cave, his bower, 
his Man Friday ; the birds and trees he saw or ought 
to have seen, together with a narrative of the author's 
own experience in the wilderness of Tobago. 

Various quotations from Crusoe have been used, 
which, together with the internal evidence of the book 
itself, seem to show conclusively that the island of his 
exile was not Juan Fernandez in the Pacific Ocean, 
but Tobago in the Caribbean Sea, not far distant 
from the north coast of South America. 

In very truth, if the vessel in which Crusoe was 
wrecked had sailed only a little farther to the north- 
ward, and if he himself had but lived a little later 
(say a century or so), he might have been claimed as 
a fellow-citizen, by the inhabitants of our great com- 
monwealth, the prototype of which he founded on 
his island, in his latter years. 

Fbedebick a. Ober. 

New York, October^ 1897. 





IT. — Enemies ashore and afloat . 
III. — First day in the forest 
IV. — The King of the Woods 

V. — Jacamars, parrots, and trooons . 
VI. — Some queer and troublesome neighbors 


X. — My friends Pomona and Ceres . 


XII. — Home of the humming birds 
XIII. — The manakins' aErial dance 


XV. — Trees of the tropical forest 
XVI. — All about Crusoe's Man Friday 
XVII. — Treed by wild peccaries , 


XIX. — The devotion of Thomas Ned 
XX. — A visit to the world outside 
XXI. — The fatness of the earth . 
XXII. — After the hurricane . 
XXIII. — Thomas Ned finds a pearl of price 
































Scarborough, capital of Tobago . . . Frontispiece 

Map of South America xxii 

The shipwreck 5 

Approach to Tobago 9 

My hut on the beach 11 

The " gray ghost " 16 

Crusoe, as described by himself 19 

Nest of the cassican 23 

The crested cassican 25 

A forest pool 29 

The King of the Woods 34 

The jacamar 39 

The Tobago trogon 42 

Royal trogon of Mexico 46 

Reading by the fireflies' light 50 

An army of ants 53 

Parrots of Tobago 63 

A pair of agoutis 67 

The tropic bird »7q 

The cockerrico ^^ 

Jumbo-Jocko, the great boa 81 

Cacao tree and fruit 87 

Cassava cakes out to dry 92 

Pineapple plants 95 

My home on the Hilltop 100 

Sicklebill humming birds HI 




Dancing manakins 119 

Scissorstails 124 

Wrens fighting a whipsnake 128 

Grugru palms 134 

Native huts and trees 138 

Distant view of Tobago 141 

Crusoe rescues " Friday " 143 

Caribs of the West Indies 146 

Carib implements of stone 148 

A group of Caribs 151 

Young Carib girl 153 

A Carib " thunderbolt " 155 

Treed by the peccaries 161 

My " Man Friday " . . . , 175 

Gathering cocoanuts 183 

Noosing the iguana 189 

An Obeah charm 192 

Crusoe's ship — from his own book 205 

Man-o'-war Bay, Tobago 207 

The armadillo * 216 

Carib arrowroot mill 225 

A flsh for a fishhook 228 

Remoras and shark 230 

Bird-spider and lizard 232 

In the devilfish's coils 240 

The grave beneath the palms . 243 


Map showing Crusoe's voyages (date 1719) . . . . 246 

Portrait of Robinson Crusoe, taken 1719 .... 252 

Title-page of Crusoe, third edition 257 

Title-page of Selkirk's narrative ....... 263 





A statement of the case — Where Crusoe was wrecked — Cradled 
on a reef — The coast of Tobago — Left alone on shore. 

Thebe is one period of my life which I call my 
"Crusoe year," because it was owing to suggestions 
from Kobinson Crusoe that I enjoyed its rich and 
varied experiences. It all came about through my 
desire to know more of the island in which Crusoe 
had his wonderful adventures. That was something 
which the author of the book seemed to have left out 
— ^just where it was situated ; yet it was the very thing 
that interested me most. 

And when I was a boy I resolved that if I ever 
grew up to be a man, and had aa much as fifty or 
a hundred dollars, I would make a voyage and de- 
termine for myself where he was located after tlie 
shipwreck ; where he made his bower, and his cave, 
and kept his flocks of goats ; and above all, where he 
first met " Man Friday," and who Man Friday was. 

It came to pass that, after I had attained to man's 

estate, I found myself possessed of somewhat more 



than a hundred dollars; and then I concluded to 
make my voyage, and see where all those interesting 
things took place ; even though the events narrated 
occurred more than two hundred years ago. That 
doesn't matter ; the world has always had boys ;n it, 
and, I fancy, they have always been pretty much the 
same. That is, they liked good, hearty adventure, 
liked to be out of doors, and wanted to see a bit of 
the world. 

Well, to cut short a story that otherwise might 
be made very long, I finally found myself aboard a 
small schooner, bound for the islands of Barbados and 
Trinidad. The master of the vessel was an old friend 
of mine. Captain Larcom, who in his youth used to 
sail from Salem to the East Indies, when our com- 
mercial marine was more flourishing than it is at the 
present. He had amassed a little fortune through 
his long years at sea, and was virtually on the retired 
list ; but he now and then took a sea trip, just to keep 
his hand in, as he expressed it. 

He and I used to play checkers together during 
the long winter evenings at home, and in the inter- 
vals of the game we would discuss his voyages and 
adventures. I at last ventured to tell him of my 
strong desire to visit Crusoe's island, and he was 
much interested. 

" But, you know," he said, " it will be a long and 
expensive voyage, away round the Horn to the coast 
of Chili, and the island of Juan Fernandez ; it will 
take a lot of time and money." 

" Yes," I replied rather dubiously ; " but I don't 


want to go to Juan Fernandez, but to Tobago, in the 
Caribbean Sea." 

"You do? What do you want to go there 
for ? " 

" Because that is Crusoe's island." 

" Nonsense, boy ; Crusoe's island is Juan Fernan- 
dez, in latitude 30° and some minutes south of the 
equator; while Tobago is only 11^ north — right at 
our doors, as one might say." 

"Well, captain, I don't want to contradict you, 
but you are making the same mistake everybody else 
has made for nearly two hundred years. You have 
confounded Robinson Crusoe with Alexander Selkirk, 
when they are two entirely different individuals, no 
more alike than you and 1 are." 

" Do you mean to say that Defoe didn't steal his 
story from Selkirk ? I was always told that he did. 
If he didn't where did he get it ? " 

" Where did he get it ? Perhaps from the old 
navigators who had lived before him, and h^d pub- 
lished accounts of their voyages, such as Drake the 
Sea King, Sir Walter Raleigh, and many others, who 
sailed to the West Indies and coasted the Spanish 

" That sounds all right ; but it'll take pretty strong 
evidence to make me believe that Tobago is the 
island, even if Juan Fernandez isn't. I'll tell you 
what I'll do : I'm going down to Trinidad next 
month, after a cargo of asphalt, and if you'll prove to 
me that Tobago was the island Crusoe lived on, I'll 
take you there for nothing." 


I was overjoyed at this, for I had made my posi- 
tion secure, and knew that 1 could convince the cap- 
tain of the truth of it. And I did it from the Crusoe 
book itself, as follows: "You will remember that 
Crusoe, when a young man, ran away to sea, was 
shipwrecked, captured by the savage Moors, with 
whom he lived as a captive two years or so on the 
coast of Africa, and then escaped and finally arrived 
at the Brazils. Here he lived about four years as a 
planter, at the end of which time he set out for Africa 
again in quest of slaves. It is with this latter voy- 
age that his real adventures begin, for it ended in 
shipwreck and led to his long period of seclusion on 
the island in question. 

"They had not been out long when, the storm 
abating a little — to quote directly from Crusoe's own 
journal — ' The Master made an observation as well as 
he could, and found that he was in about 11° of north 
Latitude, so that we were gotten beyond the coast of 
Guiana, and beyond the river Amazones, towards the 
River Oroonoque (Orinoco) commonly called the Great 
River.' " 

" Bless my stars ! " said the captain, when I read 
this to him, " that does look like Tobago. But go on ; 
I'm anxious to see where he fetched up." 

" ' So we chang'd our course, and steer'd away 
N. W. by W., in order to reach some of the English 
Islands ; but a second Storm came upon us and drove 
us so out of the way of all humane Commerce, that, 
had all our lives been saved, as to the Sea, we were 
rather in danger of being devour'd by the Salvages, 


tliaD of ever returning to our own eoiintr)'. In tliis 
distress, one of our Men, early in the Morning, cry'd 
"Land!" and we had no sooner ran oat of theCabbia 
to look, in the hopes of seeing whereabouts in the 
World we were, but tha Ship struck upon a Rock, and 

mat we expeciea we 
should all have perish'd immediately,' " 

" That is clever enough," assented the captain, 
" and the latitude they were in leaves Juan Fernandez 
out of the question, for it lies more than 40° to the 
southward of their last position," 

Passing over the events attendant upon the land- 
ing of Crusoe, and his dismal moralizings, I turned to 
the page where we find him, after having in a measure 


recovered from his disaster, setting out on a tour of 

"'When I pass'd the Vale where my Bower stood, 
I came within view of the Sea, and, it being a clear 
Day, I fairly descried Land — jv^hether an Island or a 
Continent, I could not tell ; but it lay very high, at a 
very great distance.' 

" And later, when he had a companion in the faith- 
ful ' Friday,' he says : ' I ask'd him how far it was 
from our Island to the Shore, and whether Canoes 
were not often lost. And he told me there was no 
danger, — no Canoes ever lost ; but that a little way 
out to Sea there was a Wind and a Current, always 
one way in the Morning, and another in the After- 
noon. This I understood to be no more than the sets 
of the Tyde, as going out and coming in ; but I after- 
wards understood it to be occasion'd by the great 
draught and reflux of the mighty River Oroonoque, 
in the mouth or gulph of which our Island lay. And 
the Land which I perceiv'd was the great Island of 
Trinidad, on the north point of the mouth of the 
Eiver.' " 

" That's enough, my boy," said the kind old cap- 
tain, " you needn't read any more, for your case is 
proven. You've convinced me that the island is really 
Tobago, for there isn't any other in that latitude, off 
the mouth of the Orinoco, from which the island of 
Trinidad can be seen. I'll take you there, as I said. I 
would have done so, anyway, as it won't be much out 
of my way ; only, the currents along Tobago coast are 
very strong, and may cause me trouble." 


Thus it was that we made the voyage together, 
starting in the month of January, crossing the Gulf 
Stream and the Sargasso Sea, touching at the island 
of Barbados, and finally bringing in sight the object 
of my quest one evening, just as the sun went down. 

The first officer pointed out to me a long black 
cloud, which he said was Tobago, promising to be 
close upon it in the morning, adding that he envied 
me the fun I'd have when I got on shore. And that 
night I could not sleep, thinking of "the fun I'd 
have " on the morrow. 

And it was as well I could not, for a little after 
midnight a sudden and terrible shock threw me out of 
my bunk and upon the floor, where for a time I lay 
bewildered. Another still heavier blow, which thrilled 
the good schooner through from stem to stem, brought 
back my scattered senses, and I groped my way out 
of the cabin and scrambled to the deck. There I saw 
my dear old captain clinging to the wheel, maintain- 
ing his post nobly, though dashed from port to star- 
board every time a wave came in. Looking over the 
side, I saw that we were surrounded by breakers, with 
great white-crested rollers hurrying upon us from 
every direction. 

A great crash announced a new disaster ; a tre- 
mendous wave rolled over the stern, unshipped the 
rudder, and knocked the helmsman flat on deck, where 
for a moment he lay groaning. I ran, raised him in 
my arms, and supported him ; he was so dazed that 
he reeled like a drunken man. But, notwithstanding 
the severe shock he had received, as soon as he looked 


about him he uttered a cry of joy. For that last great 
wave had thrown the vessel over the reef of coral and 
into a sheltered harbor. We were floating in calm 
water, for the moment as safe as though tied up to 
the dock at home. An anchor was let go and the 
pumps tried, which soon showed that no leak had 
started, the only damage being to the unshipped 

The captain consulted with his officers, and it was 
decided that the rudder could be rigged with chains 
until Trinidad was reached, where the vessel could be 
overhauled. It was then explained to me that the 
vessel had been caught by one of those strong currents 
from the Orinoco, which had drifted her in upon To- 
bago shore before the helmsman and the watch were 
aware of their peril. 

Daylight revealed our position, close under the 
shadow of a high promontory, right abreast a deep 
bay with white, sandy beach. An exclamation of 
delight burst from me as I saw the beauties of that 
tropic strand unfolded in the brightening dawn. 
This was the island I had sought ; more beautiful 
than any dream of mine, at last it lay before me ! 

At first the captain would not hear of my going 
ashore alone, for there was no house in sight, no evi- 
dence whatever of the presence of human beings. 
But I finally convinced him that this was the very 
thing I desired ; that I had come here to live a life of 
seclusion ; to dwell apart from men after the manner 
of my great predecessor, Crusoe. So he finally yield- 
ed, gathered together my " traps," added to my scant 


stores a barrel of beef and " hard tack," put them all 
in the boat, and himself accompanied me to the little 
beach lying between the great cliffs which broke out 
of the dense forest. 

Then he took me aside for a little talk. It does 
not matter what he said ; but our eyes were a trifle 
moist as he turned to go, and the pressure of his big 
hand remained in mine long after he had disappeared. 
Then I sat down beneath a palm and tried to get fa- 
miliar with a new feeling of loneliness, as a last fare- 
well was shouted to me, and a projecting promontory 
hid the last flock of sail from sight. 

I had been taken at my word, and left alone. At 
length my dream was realized, and my feet pressed 
the soil of Tobago, the island of Crusoe's adventures. 



My hilt of palm spathes — The deadly manchineels — How I caught 
fish without hook or net — The morning bath in the bay — 
Approaching danger — The great gray ghost of a shark. 

Aftee the ship- had disappeared behind the point, 
it was a long while before I could collect my thoughts 
and prepare for action. But as I had no shelter for 
the coming night, I had no time to lose, if I did not 
wish to sleep exposed upon the sands. Material for 
shelter was close at hand, for I found a lot of straight 
poles, cast up by the waves, and these served as up- 
rights for the support of a thatch of palm leaves, with 
which the beach was strewn. 

Selecting a spot beneath the palms on the bank of 
a stream, I drove the poles into the sand, and soon 
had the four sides of my hut in place. Over this 
skeleton I tacked strips of canvas, covering them with 
the palm leaves. Above them I placed a layer of the 
great spathes of the mountain palm, some of which 
were from six to eight feet long and two feet broad ; 
they were curved like Spanish tiles, and formed ex- 
cellent roofing material. I connected the poles by 

crosspieces, and covered them with leaves ; and in a 



few hours I had a shelter sufficient for protection 
from the night air and from the sun by day. 

Out of some rough boards which I found on the 
beach I made a floor. Into one comer of my hut I 
then rolled a barrel of beef, into another one of pork, 
while the cracker and ammunition boxes formed good 
substitutes for chairs and tables. Bracing the corner 
posts of two ends of the hut with stakes, I swung my 
hammock from the eaves ; and there I was, prepared 
for any fortune that 

better couch, for he says in his journal, " Now I lay 
no more for a while in a Bed, but in a Hamak." 

I awoke next morning at daybreak. At first I 
gazed bewildered at the brown thatch above me ; 
then, as a slender green-and-golden hzard rustled the 
dry j»]m leaves close to my face, I recalled the queer 
events of the day before, and realized that I was no 
longer passenger on a slow-sailing schooner, but a 
lonely dweller in a hut of poles and palm leaves. I 


leaped from the hammock, drew aside the blanket 
that served as a door, and stepped out into open air. 
The little bay was all alight with the glories of ap- 
proaching mom. The wall of woods behind me hid 
the rising sun ; in truth, its rays did not reach this 
spot till late, so that the beach still lay in cool, sweet 

Nearly a week I lived here quietly, gathering my 
strength and measuring the difficulties before me 
when 1 should invade the forest. There was no ne- 
cessity for hurry, as it was then but the beginning of 
the dry season, which lasts through the winter well 
into May and June. By the time the rainy season 
should arrive I hoped to have a better habitation and 
to be prepared for a long period of seclusion. 

While my hut was in the shadow and the air was 
cool, I resolved to go about with as little clothing as 
possible, and stripped myself of nearly everything; 
but when the sun had crept over the trees, and show- 
ered me with his scorching rays, I was glad enough 
to put on my clothes again. It may be remembered 
that Crusoe had a similar experience in playing sav- 
age, for, after having tried the same experiment, he 
says quite plaintively, " I could not bear the Heat of 
the Sun so well when quite naked as with some 
Cloathes on ; nay, the very Heat frequently blister'd 
my Skin." But I did not further follow his exam- 
ple and make myself garments of goatskin; that 
would have been a most ridiculous and unnecessary 

I hope I was not such an arrant coward as Crusoe, 


who, though he recovered " great store " of arms and 
ammunition from the wreck, never felt quite at ease, 
but always took his walks abroad loaded down with 
guns and pistols. " For," said he, '' I was afraid to 
lie down on the Ground, not knowing but some wild 
Beast might devour me ; tho', as I afterward found, 
there was really no need for those Fears. ... I 
found no ravenous Beast, no furious Wolves or Ty- 
gers to threaten my Life ; no venemous Creatures ; 
nor Poisons which I might feed on to my hurt ; no 
Salvages to murther and devour me." 

Neither was there anything of the sort to bother 
me ; and' I had this advantage over poor Crusoe : that 
I knew, in a general way, what were the resources of 
my island. 

But one day — I think it was the second of my 
stay — in wandering over my beach, I found a clump 
of trees that made me pause a moment and reflect 
upon the possible dangers of hunting through these 
woods alone. 

They had smooth and shining stems, green and 
glossy leaves, and threw a most inviting shade over 
the snowy sand, which was strewn with yellow apples, 
fallen from the boughs above. Fortunately for me, 
I did not seek to recline beneath the shade of these 
trees nor try to eat any of the tempting apples, for 
these were the dreaded manchineels — the West In- 
dian upas trees — which have poisoned many a ship- 
wrecked sailor who has been deceived by their fine ap- 
pearance. They should especially be avoided when 
the dew or rain is falling, as a drop of water from 


the leaves causes the skin to blister; the fruit is 

But they served me well, just the same, know- 
ing them as I did ; and this is how : Over behind 
the sand bank was a deep pond filled with fish. 
The fish were fair and tempting, but I had with me 
no hook nor line. So I carefully cut away some of 
the branches with their shining leaves, and cast them 
into the pool. Soon up came a small fish gasping for 
breath; then another larger, and another, until the 
surface was covered, and I had only to wade into the 
water and throw them out on the sand. 

Although the fish seem to be poisoned, their flesh 
is not injured, as the sole effect of the manchineel 
appears to be to deprive the water temporarily of its 
oxygen, causing the denizens therein to come to the 
surface to breathe. They must be quickly taken, or 
they will soon recover and again dive below the sur- 

The fun of fishing, as any boy will understand, 
consists in being able to catch the fish — and plenty 
of them — without any risk to the fisher. But when 
the fish turn the tables and undertake to hunt the 
fisher — that is altogether another matter ! Yet that 
is what they did to me on one occasion ; and the rec- 
ollection of the adventure makes me shudder when- 
ever I think of it. 

It was my custom, every morning, to run down 
from my hut over the smooth sand into the water, 
and there paddle about for half an hour or more in 
perfect ecstasy. I had become so accustomed to 


looking upon this little harbor as my own peculiar 
property, perfectly safe, secluded from the world, that 
I no more thought of taking any precautions than I 
would have done in a bath tub. But danger is always 
lurking in our paths, ready to take us unawares, espe- 
cially in a strange country. This particular danger 
was the result of my own carelessness, too ; I had 
nobody but myself to blame. That is one of the 
worst phases of a solitary life ; you don't have any 
one else to blame for your misfortunes. 

Well, it had become a habit with me, whenever I 
cleaned a fish, to leave the refuse on the beach for 
the gulls and sea swallows to eat. By this means I 
had made them so tame that they came flying over 
whenever they saw me approach the water, saluting 
me with joyous screams. This was very delightful 
to me in my solitude; but the presence of the fish 
bait and the noise of the birds attracted other denizens 
of the water, and came near being my destruction. 

One morning, while I was floating placidly on the 
water, my face upturned to the sky, I felt the ap- 
proach of danger. Quickly raising my head, I saw a 
great gray ghost approaching — ^an immense shark, 
swimming swiftly and silently, his erect back fin 
hardly making a ripple on the surface of the water 1 
Then there was a sudden swirl in the water as he 
turned half over to seize my extended arm. A thrill 
of terror shot through me. 

He missed me by scarcely a handbreadth as I 
scrambled for the shore ; but fortunately I was in 
shallow water, and so evaded him and regained the 


beach. He followed me right into the surf, and with 
a snap of his great jaws, thick set with rows of pointed 
teeth, gathered in a mouthful of the fleh I had left 

he could get away. It was in vain that he splaehed 
about and gnashed his cruel teeth ; I soon had hira out 
of the water and his head cut off, and it was not long 
before my gulls and terns were feasting on hia carcase. 
There must be another shark, I knew, for these 
man-eaters always swim in pairs ; so I kept my eyes 
open for its mate. It did not come that morning, nor 
the next, and I was regaining my feeling of careless 
security, when it was suddenly dispelled by the second 


intruder. I had not discontinued my baths; but I 
always took a big stick into tlie water with me, and 
swam very near the surf. 

At last the other shark came in, but fortunately I 
saw her before she reached me. She shied off to 
deep water as I ran for my gun, returning later and 
sweeping up near the fish bait. I gave her a shot in 
the back, which only infuriated her ; but another in a 
vital part quieted her forever. So I killed my ene- 
mies — that is, the first ones — and I found this shark 
to be nearly nine feet in length — six inches shorter 
than her mate. 

My peaceful life had now been invaded by real 
terrors; at the end of my beach grew the odious 
manchineels; in front of it swam the man-eaters. 
Only the day before I had found an immense centi- 
pede in my hammock, which had dropped from the 
thatch while I was absent ; but it might as easily 
have fallen on my face while I lay asleep ! So, alto- 
gether, I was restless and not so satisfied with my lot 
as I might have been. I resolved to leave the sea- 
side and explore the great forest, where, perchance, I 
might find a retreat less liable to invasion. 



What I wore and carried — Crusoe's accoutrements — A wrestle 
with razor grass — Under the parrot-apple tree — Creepers and 
crawlers — The crested cassican — ^A bird's nest five feet long. 

I WAS not, perhaps, quite the "formidable Fel- 
low " that our old friend Robinson Crusoe was when 
he set out for his walks abroad ; but I was equally well 
equipped for a fight, if need be. To tell the truth, 
I never could understand how he managed to cany 
that cumbersome broadsword through the tangled 
thickets; not to mention his hatchet, pistols, and 
heavy fowling piece. And then, again, he was so 
heavily laden with clothing and accoutrements, in a 
tropical climate, with the thermometer (if he had one) 
indicating somewhere near a hundred degrees in the 

Now, my costume was the result of many months 

of experience with the hot sun of tropical regions, 

and I always dressed with an eye to comfort. In 

the first place, on my head a helmet made of papyrus 

pith, which was imported from the East Indies — ^the 

favorite head gear of all tropical explorers, because 

it is so light, and at the same time absolutely imper- 



over my shoulder was a broad strap, attached to a 
willow trout basket, which is better than a game 
bag, as the birds you carry in it can not be crushed. 
My pockets were filled with shells loaded with shot 
of different sizes, and in one hand I carried a light 
breech-loading shotgun. 

Having slept well the night before, breakfasted 
well that morning, and having washed away my cares 
in the sea with my bath at daylight, I felt as free 
and buoyant as the forest birds whose acquaintance I 
was then about to seek. 

The sun hadn't been long above the waves when 
he might have seen me on the edge of the great for- 
est, which I had noted the very first day of my arrival 
here, but which I had not hitherto made an attempt 
to penetrate. But, as if to warn me from the woods, 
on the very edge of it I had a tussle with an enemy, 
who nearly succeeded in cutting my throat : I got en- 
tangled in a thicket of razor grass, that awful pest of 
southern lowlands, and which has disabled many a 
poor West Indian negro by cutting his naked feet and 
slashing his legs and arms. 

After disentangling myself I was quite out of 
breath, and out of sorts as well, and had more than 
half a mind to return to my hut on the beach. But, 
having seated myself beneath a parrot-apple tree to 
recover breath, I soon perceived that I had, imwit- 
tingly, halted in just the right place to get a lot of 
birds without any trouble whatever. I was then re- 
minded of what my experience had long ago taught 
me, but which I had forgotten : that it is often better 


to sit still and wait for game to come to you, than to 
roam about aimlessly in search of it. 

The parrot apple is a tree resembling a wild fig, 
and throws out and down to the ground, from stem 
and branches, shoots like those of the banyan and 
mangrove. Some of these "adventitious roots" at 
touch of earth spring up again, like the fabled 
Antaeus who wrestled with Hercules, climb up into 
the tree, and join themselves to limbs and branches. 
It is a peculiarity of some species of the family to 
which this tree belongs to attach itself to whatever it 
meets, like the barnacle to a ship, and sometimes 
specimens may be found completely inclosing another 
tree in a deadly embrace, growing completely around 
it, the bark visible only through the meshes in a 
ligneous net. The leaves are large, round, and glossy 
green; the fruit is fig-shaped, and contains seeds 
that will bum like a wax taper. When the fruit is 
ripe the negroes say, " The parrot apple am bus'," 
and, like the birds and wood rats, seek it out for its 
precious seeds. 

The treetop was alive with birds, the most beau- 
tiful of which were the little creepers, with their 
backs of velvet blue, head cerulean green, under parts 
azure, and feet coral red. Their dried skins may be 
found in all the bird sellers' stores in cities, for there 
is a great demand for them vrith which to "orna- 
ment " the hats and bonnets of thoughtless women. 

The farther I proceeded into the forest the denser 
became the vegetation ; but at last I found a secluded 
dell, where the ksll trees had prevented the under- 


growth from forming and covering the ground, and 
the view was comparatively open. In the midst of 
this dell I saw a tall palm standing, with a trunk per- 
haps a hundred feet high, and broad leaves spreading 
around it on every side. I knew it at once to be the 
great mountain palm, called by the botanists Oreo- 
doxa / but I had never seen one exactly like this be- 
fore, for, from the terminal tip of every immense 
leaf hung a curious structure, woven of grass and 
palm fiber. It was as if a vast umbrella had been 
stuck upon a big tree trunk, and from the end of 
every rib a long silken purse had been hung. 

While I was wondering w^hat these strange things 
could be, out from one of them scrambled a big black 
and yellow bird, which, after circling above my head, 
alighted on a limb and began to scold me for intrud- 
ing into this private parlor of his family. He was soon 
joined by dozens of others, and shortly there was such 
a noise that I could hardly ''hear myself think." 

There must be some reason for all this fuss, I 
thought, and so narrowly examined those funny af- * 
fairs at the tips of the leaves, and after a while made 
them out to be birds' nests ! Yes, every one was the 
dwelling place of a pair of birds, and probably held 
some of their eggs. Of course I was very anxious to 
see what they looked like close at hand and to secure 
the eggs ; but how to get them puzzled me greatly. 
They hung too far above the earth to be reached by 
poles or stones, and the shafts of the palms were too 
straight and smooth to be "shinned," even by a 


At laat it occurred to me to try to slioot tliem down 
by firing charges of shot at the juncture of the leaf 
with the nest. At first I was unsueceseful, for the 
material of which the nest was composed was earned 
up and woven 
around the leaf 
for quite a dis- 
tance, and it was 
next to impos- 
sible to cut it 
away. But af- 
ter firing several 
shots I had the 
satisfaction of 
seeing one of 
the nests twirl 
around in the air, 
and then come 
swirling down 
to the ground, 
texture that I fo 
within unharmed 
on a bed of drie 
They were of a pa 

with characters like those on the ess x, . , . 

^" Neat of the 
of our northern grackle. cmuuoan. 

As to the nest itself, when 1 had 
examined it closely I found it to be made of long 
grasses, intermixed with fibrous strips of palm leaf, 
and as closely woven as if the work of human hands. 
It resembled the nest of our Baltimore oriole, but 


was many times as large and as long, the largest that 
I saw being live feet from one end to the other! 
Inside this aerial cradle, suspended from the high- 
hung palm leaf, the eggs and young of its builders 
would be safe from prowling monkeys and preda- 
tory boys. No gale could shake it loose from its 
attachments, not even the hurricane ; and, as the en- 
trance to the nest was high up, near its throat, its 
occupants might with safety stay within it and laugh 
in the face of the storm. 

And its builders? They are called yellowtails, 
in the island where I found them and their nests ; 
but the naturalists have named them the crested cas- 
sican (in Latin, Icteros cassicus)^ owing to their hel- 
met-like crest and yellow color. 

Having secured some more nests, and also speci- 
mens of the birds, I pushed on into the forest until I 
reached a deep ravine, where the rocks and trees com- 
bined almost hid the sun and sky. It was very dark 
and gloomy there, and before I had explored the 
place well the shades of night were gathering; for 
time passes quickly, as we all know, when we are 
constantly employed. I saw a great hawk sitting on 
the topmost branch of a high tree, and fired my gun, 
with the intention of bringing it to the ground. Un- 
til the moment that I fired the woods had been almost 
as silent as a tomb, but at that instant there broke 
out a perfect storm of strange cries, as though all 
the animals of the forest had awakened from deep 

I was startled, but in the midst of the confusion I 


conld not but recall the experience of Crueoe in a 
similar situatioii to mine : 

" I believe that it was the first Gun that had ever 
been fir'd there since the creation of the World ; for I 
had no sooner fir'd, but from all parts of the Wood 

Th« or«sted CassicBii. 

there arose an innumerable number of Fowls of many 
sorts, making a eonfus'd screaming and ciying, every 
one according to his Kind." 

And after the great noise had somewhat subsided, 
I heard what seemed to me was a human voice, say- 
ing, " Who ? who ? who are yon ? " 

This voice startled me more than all the rest, for 
I had not heard the sound of human speech since the 
departure of my friends on the vessel. As the dark- 


ness deepened, out of the denser woods came muffled 
noises, strange and fearsome ; but above them all rose 
the hollow voice, like the wail of a lost spirit, '' Who ? 
who ? who are you ? " 

I had laughed to myself at the causeless fears of 
Crusoe, when I had read of his immense preparations 
for defense, as narrated in his book ; but if he could 
have revisited the scene of his own terrors, he would 
have had the satisfaction of seeing me trembling 
and quaking at the mere sound of a ghostly voice I 

I will confess that I did not breathe freely until 
I had reached the bluff above the beach where my 
hut stood, and saw the glimmer of the stars in the 
placid water of the little bay. 

I had seen nobody, but all the while I felt that 
something or somebody was following me, for that 
unearthly voice mocked me all along the trail through 
the thick woods, and left me only at the verge of the 

And this was the termination of my first day in 
the forest, which had opened so blithely in the morn- 
ing — ^had seen me go forth so full of hopeful anticipa- 
tions, only to return disturbed by dismal fears. 



The attractive ravine — A sanctuary of the birds — I hear a spirit 
voice— An old acquaintance — Toh, the bird left out of the 
ark — How its tail became attenuated — How it kills serpents. 

A WEEK passed away before I took to the woods 
again — ^a week of work, of quiet labor and modest 
delights. It had been my intention to make a foray 
into the forest every day, if possible ; but, so long as 
my time was occupied, there was no immediate neces- 
sity for hunting. I had, I knew, four months of the 
dry season to explore in, and even in the so-called 
rainy season it was not impossible to go out. I dated 
my advent here from the middle of December, when 
the autumn rains were over and the best of the win- 
ter season ahead of me. As I had hardly expected 
to get settled before the first of January, but had 
been favored by fortune so unexpectedly, I counted 
all of this month saved as so much clear gain. 

I contemplated a garden, of course ; but the time 
for its preparation had not quite arrived, and there 
was nothing to be gained by haste. Although I had 
no snow and frost to contend with there, and could 
raise several crops in a season, still due regard must 



be paid to the seasons of rains and drought. To have 
the best results, I must prepare my soil and plant the 
seed just before the rains commenced, or at least so 
that the growing plants should receive the benefits of 
the watering when most needed. I had, then, at least 
two months for hunting and the leisurely preparation 
of my farm. 

I will also confess to you, reader, that another 
reason operated against a hasty resumption of my 
forest rambles. You may recall that on my first trip, 
as narrated in the previous chapter, I was frightened 
— ^yes, I was startled and made quite uneasy — by that 
mysterious interrogator in the deep woods, who hooted 
in my ears and himself remained unseen. The more 
I thought upon it the deeper became the mystery ; 
but I could not allow him, whoever he was, to drive 
me from my purpose ; and, at all events, he had not 
pursued me beyond the forest verge, and had made 
no other hostile demonstration. So 1 determined to 
venture again, but to keep on the alert as soon as the 
deep woods were gained. 

Descending the river bed between great rocks that 
seemed to have been rent apart for the passage of a 
torrent in bygone ages, I entered a gloomy gorge 
where the sun was almost shut out. Here the stream 
ran from basin to basin in the ledge, now with low 
murmur and again with noisy fall. It was overhung 
by a dense canopy of vines and trees, which intensi- 
fied the gloom beneath. 

A drift of sand lay at the base of a cliff, clean 
and yellow, beneath which was a deep pool of quiet 


water — a delightful place for a bath, though the huge 
crayfish crawling over its bottom looked formidable. 
In the rainy season this little stream must rise to the 
dignity of a roaring torrent, as evidence of it could be 
seen in scattered trees and branches lodged among 
the rocks. 

A little kingfisher dashed by like a meteor, leaving 
behind him a shrill rattling cry, which rang through 
the gorge like the shriek of a locomotive. Up under 
the sheer wall of a precipice sat unconcerned a 
green and golden jacamar ; brilliant humming birds 
darted from flower to vine and from liane to lialine, 
halting now and then, suspended in mid-air before my 
face, as though questioning me as to the reason for 
my intrusion. 

That I was an intruder I could not but feel con- 
vinced, for this spot seemed sacred to the birds, who 
retreated here for shelter in storm and shade at heat 
of noon. 

Above the sand-drift a roof was formed of the 
lianes, stretched like the cordage of a ship and Kke a 
netted hammock. Against the walls of rock great 
green leaves were plastered, and across the pool huge 
fallen tree trunks lay prostrate, heaped with a wealth 
of parasitic plants and gay with flowers. All the 
birds here found refuge, and appeared to meet as on 
common ground — woodpeckers, thrushes, flycatchers, 
trogons with emerald coats, doves in sober drab, hum- 
ming birds in iridescent plumage — all gathered here 
as the heat outside became oppressive. 

They regarded me curiously as I lay prone upon 


my bed of sand, and many fluttered about uneasily ; 
but not one seemed to entertain a doubt of the in- 
tegrity of my intentions. This confidence robbed me 
of whatever evil motive I had in coming here, and 
my gun rested against the rock, vrhile I noted the 
movements of my companions. 

Never had naturalist a better opportunity for 
studying animated Nature at his ease, nor for near 
acquaintance with the little folk with feathers on 
them. I welcomed this chance with joy, and was 
alert to their every motion, for it was what I had 
long. desired: a peep into the private affairs of the 
bird family. With as little disturbance as possible, I 
drew out my notebook and set my pencil in motion, 
and for hours I was intent on recording the many 
strange things I that day saw. 

At last I wearied of the work, and the heat of 
high noon penetrating here, I fell asleep. When I 
awoke the whole gorge was in deep shadow, for the 
sun had nearly performed his diurnal journey ; a dove 
was drinking at the pool, and the jacamar was still 
sitting under the cliff ; but nearly all the others had 
gone to their haunts of the night. I arose and 
stretched myself, gathered up my scattered belong- 
ings, and prepared to depart. As I did so a sound 
saluted my ears that made me start ; in the words of 
Crusoe, " If I had had a Hat on my Head, I will not 
answer for it that my Hair might not have lifted it 

It was the same spirit voice, asking me why I was 
here and what I was doing : " Who ? who ? " 


This time I felt that the spirit, the " jumbie," or 
whatever it was, had me at a disadvantage; for I 
could only retreat slowly, and would require all my 
attention to get out of the gorge. So I rashly turned 
at bay ; finding I was " in for it," 1 determined to 
make the best of the situation and present a bold 
front. Setting my back against the rock (for a man 
always feels less nervous with something solid at his 
back) I grasped my gun and peered anxiously into 
the gathering darkness of the chasm. 

Suddenly the hollow voice sounded right over my 
head : " Who ? " There was a rift in the network of 
vines that gave me a view of the projecting branch of 
a tree, and on this branch sat a strange bird : strange 
at the moment, and yet I felt that I had seen it some- 
where before.. All at once it broke upon me, and I 
sat down on the sand again and burst into laughter ; 
for I then recalled the cry as one I had heard yeara 
ago, in a cave in Yucatan. 

" Why," I said to myself, " it is Toh, dear old 
Toh; and instead of intending me harm he only 
meant to greet me." 

Now Toh, you must know, dear reader, was the 
only bird left out of the ark at the time of universal 
deluge, the Yucatecans told me. He sat upon a tree 
and scoffed at Noah, while the patriarch was build- 
ing, and after the ark was finished he refused to enter 
along with the rest of the passengers. The elephant 
and the giraffe and other tall animals that could reach 
up to his perch urged him to go in, and emphasized 
their remarks by tearing out some of Toh's tail feath- 


ers ; but he only laughed at them and said " Toh ! " 
which is the Maya word for " go along." 

And this was the Tobago representative of the 
Mexican bird who had scared me so badly, and whose 
near relative I had often seen in the genotes of Yuca- 
tan! He bore a different name here, and a more 
dignified, being* known as the King of the Woods. 
He sat upon the branch and gave out at intervals his 
sepulchral cry ; but I feared him no longer, my ghost 
was laid, the dread jumbie had resolved itself into a 
phantom — ^as all our fears may do if we will but tight 
them and drive them to the wall. 

This King of the Woods is a curious bird, known 
to the naturalists as the Prionites Bahammensis, It 
is about seventeen inches in length, with eighteen 
inches stretch of wing, and has a soft, silky plumage 
of green and chestnut. It has a crimson iris, a very 
pretty crest, and is altogether an attractive but modest- 
appearing bird. 

Its peculiar feature is the tail, which consists of 
two long feathers, the shafts or barbs of which are 
entirely divested of their laminae or barbules, except 
at the tips, where a spatulate inch or so only remains. 
Some naturalists hold that the bird comes honestly by 
this peculiar feather in a natural way, and others that 
it strips the barbules away after it has got its growth. 

Its plumage is at its best in the springtime, when 
the spatulate feathers are perfect ; but after the sum- 
mer molting these disappear, and can not be seen 
from October to March. It digs a hole in a marl 
bank from five to ten feet deep, and there lays three 


or four roand white e^gs, its breeding season being 
April and May, when also it is in finest feather. 

This bird feeds on berries, snakes, beetles and 
other insects, bat nerer seizes its prey on the wing. 
When it has captured a snake it never lets go to get a 
better hold, but dashes it against the branch on which 
it is perched, for it never remains on the ground after 
catching its prey. 


The peculiar cry of this bird, its mournful, melan- 
choly call-note, has given rise to many stories among 
the negroes, who are very superstitious, and think 
that the bird itself is the embodied spirit of some de- 
parted friend. 

It soon became quite dark in the gorge, the cry of 
the night hawk sounding overhead, and from the 
woods came strange and muffled noises. Slowly out 
of the gloom came a great moth, flapping its broad 
wings with measured sweeps, impressing me with its 
immense size as it calmly beat the air, sailing first to 
one side then to the other. Its wings above were the 
purest azure ; below they were darker, with large eyes, 
or beauty spots ; gleaming blue and gorgeously, as the 
wings beat up and down. It came toward me, but 
evaded the pass I made at it, and disappeared in the 
gloom of the somber trees. 

It was then late, the lamps of night were alight in 
the sky, while the earth lamps (the glowworms and 
daters) sparkled and twinkled around me. They 
danced and gleamed through the gorge, and even 
lighted up my pathway along the stream, as I stum- 
bled homeward in the darkness. 



Another exploring trip — Wild bananas and plantains — The little 
bronze bird and his nest — The beautiful hill — Wing tipping a 
parrot — A bird that showed fight. 

I HAD made several excursions into the woods be- 
fore I essayed an exploration of the stream that 
flowed past my very door. Streams are the natural 
highways of the aboriginal inhabitants of any land. 
They fix their first residences near and on the coast ; 
thence they make forays, and extend their knowledge 
of the region by means of the streams and river val- 
leys. Nowhere is this so prominent as in North 
America, where for many years the great mountain 
ranges shut the first settlers from Europe out of the 
fertile territories beyond the Alleghanies and the 

When the Pilgrim Fathers came to the shore of 
what they afterward named New England, they found 
the coast Indians of one sort and the dwellers along 
the Merrimac another. Different tribes lived in the 
different river valleys, as the St. Lawrence, the Con- 
necticut, the Hudson, and the Ohio. The mountains 

bounding the valleys also separated the dwellers there 



from those along the rivers beyond, and narrow trails 
only communicated, if indeed there were any connec- 
tion whatever. 

It was most natural that I should desire to explore 
the bed of my river. Where it met the sea, near my 
door, a little cove was formed, sheltered and still, 
where I might have floated a canoe, if I had owned 
one. Opposite Bamboo Bank, as I called my dwell- 
ing-place, it was noisy and restless, though shallower 
than at the cove, and here flowed over smooth stones 
and around large rocks, which served me as stepping- 

Above and during its course through the savanna 
there was more sand at the bottom than stones, and 
there it was shaded by grugru palms and clumps of 
vines, but as it emerged from the forest growth an 
arch of bananas and wild plantains met above its rip- 
pling waters. 

I had, in a desultory way, made the acquaintance 
of the inhabitants of the lower basin, such as crayfish, 
water scorpions, and mullets, and had caught many of 
the crayfish, which I boiled and served up at my table 
in delicious salad. But one bright morning, soon after 
the. sun had begun his daily rounds, I entered the 
stream beneath the banana arch, determined to follow 
it to its source in the deep wood. 

Birds of every sort were flying across the little 
valley through which ran my stream, and they all 
seemed ready to burst with melody. I halted near* 
the bananas only long enough to see if there were 
any ripening bunches of fruit, and noted one large 


cluster, which I cut off and hung on a tree, against 
my return. 

Plantains there were, and enough of them, big for 
cooking, and as these are boiled, and never ripened 
before being eaten, I left them there for another day. 
It was comforting to have this assurance of plentiful 
supply for the larder at my very door, for my stock 
of provisions was running low. I must now look out 
supplies of meat and farinaceous food, and draw upon 
the resources of nature. 

So many birds claimed my attention here that I 
knew not which way to turn : doves in the thickets, 
water wagtails among the rocks in the water, hum- 
ming birds darting through the air in every direction, 
pigeons dropping seeds from the trees overhead, and 
parrots flying through the treetops, screaming in 
noisy chorus. As I climbed the brook bed the tree 
ferns met overhead, the banks approached so near to- 
gether, steep and slippery. 

The Ught filtered through the fern leaves in a 
golden shower, the water fell from rock to rock with 
metallic melody, to which responded the birds above 
in strains antiphonal. One might wander here, fancy- 
ing Orpheus himself had returned from the Plutonian 
shades; and as if to confirm the illusion, the trees 
and shrubs began to nod their heads and toss their 
branches, in response to the salutation of the morning 

Perched upon a dry stick projecting from the 
bank, a bird in garb of golden bronze, with inor- 
dinately large bill and weak httle feet, sat regarding 


me. He must have known I was out hunting for 
birds with pretty plumage, but donbtlese his modesty 
did not allow him to imagine that he belonged to that 
clasB, for he sat there quite indi£erent to my presence. 

Near the Btick on which he roosted was a small round 
hole in the bank, and this was the entrance to hie 
domicile, where liia little wife kept house and home, 
a couple of feet within the entrance, brooding over 
two or three egge of purest white. 

This bird, with iridescent coppery hues, who sat 


lazily sunning himself on the stick, was the jacamar 
{Oalbula viridis\ a name probably derived from the 
Brazilian rendering of his cry of "jacamarV^ 

He is about ten inches in length, and his wings 
stretch eleven, when they are spread in his short 
flights after insects in the air. He is a sweet-tem- 
pered, unsuspicious dweller by the sides of shady 
paths and river banks, doing harm to nobody ; but be- 
cause he has a pretty coat of feathers, and vain woman 
desires those feathers in her bonnets, poor jacamar's 
life has been placed in jeopardy, and I doubt if the 
barbarous bird hunters have left a dozen of his tribe 
in the island. 

A little waterfall trickled down a broad stair of 
rock and formed a small basin of quiet water at its 
foot, above which hung the lacelike leaves of the tree 

Halting here a moment, I heard the faint hoot of 
the King of the Woods, and imitating his cry I soon 
brought him to the stream, where he perched on a 
tree near an immense palm. He looked about stupid- 
ly, snapped rather viciously at a second King who 
had also responded to my call, and replied every time 
I asked the question, " Who ? " 

" Who ? " I said, and " Who ? " solemnly an- 
swered King Prion. 

After bandying words awhile, and thoroughly 
mystifying the wondering birds, I went on up the 
stream, where the surroundings were more open. A 
kingfisher dashed past me with a whiz and a whirr, 
cleaving the air like a flashing topaz, and sending the 


water flying in spray when he dipped toward a pool, 
above which he suddenly arrested his flight, and sat 
alertly upon a dead limb watching me. He was a per- 
fect gem, brighter in colors, and smaller than his Amer- 
ican cousin, being about eight inches long and eleven 
across his wings. 

Plashing through the pools, climbing over slippery 
rocks, and dodging overhanging branches, I did not 
notice at first that I had reached a higher level, where 
the stream spread out into a placid little pond, sand- 
rimmed, and nestling within a wall of ferns and 
mountain palms. 

The scene delighted me, for looking up I beheld a 
hill slope studded with tree ferns and green hearts, 
cedars and bamboos, on the crown of which was a 
group of tall palmistes. It was a conical hill, sloping 
gradually to the apex, rising like an artificial earth- 
work above the dense forest growth around it. 

Beneath the trees was a turf of finest grass, in- 
terspersed with the waving plumes of a taller variety, 
the light and vivid green of which contrasted bright- 
ly with the sombemess of the circumjacent forest. 
My heart went out to that spot at once, and as I 
climbed the hill I determined that this should be the 
site of my summer residence; for during the heat 
of the approaching rainy season the seaside hut would 
be intolerable, lying so low and near the heated 

Arrived at the palm-crowned summit, I gazed 

upon the scene spread around me with great delight, 

for it included a goodly portion of the north end of 


the ieland. I could see the outlying islets and the 
foam-flecked promoutoriee that guarded my seaside 
home, as well as vast areas of forest, covering swell- 
ing hills and deepeuing valleys. 

Among the palm trnnks there was space sufficient 
for the erection of a small house, and I then and 
there marked out the plan of it. Then, refreshing 
myself with the gloriona view again, and inhahng 

The Tobago Trogou. 

deep draughts of the sweet, pure air, I descended to 
the stream. Like Crusoe, after he had made his 
famous excursion to the other side of his island, " I 
found that side of the Island where 1 now was much 
pleaeanter than mine; the open or savanna Fields 
sweet and adorned with Flowers and Grass, and full 
of veiy fine Woods. I saw abundance of Parrots, 


and fain would have caught one, if possible, to have 
kept it to be tame and taught it to speak to me." 

Halfway down the slope I heard voices in the air, 
apparently over the forest, but approaching the hill. 
"Quite right, quite right," screamed a shrill voice, 
to which another responded, "Right, quite right." 
Looking around, I saw a pair of parrots swiftly flying 
toward me, quite high in the air. As they got about 
overhead I aimed jny gun well ahead of them and 

One of them screamed, faltered in its flight a bit, 
then whirled over and over toward the forest beneath. 
Its mate followed it a few yards, but soon recovered 
its course and flew on, screaming " Quite right, quite 
right," though evidently it was altogether wrong. 
Marking down the wounded parrot, I tore my way 
through the undergrowth on the other side of the 
pond, and finally came upon him on his back in a 
tangle of vines. 

He was only wing tipped, and as savage as a 
bear; he threw himself back in posture of defense 
and invited me to come on. I went, but a moment 
later I retreated with lacerated hands, while the parrot 
fairly yelled in his fury and struggled to get at me 
again. He couldn't retreat, and he knew it ; but he 
was full of fight, and it was a busy half hour before 
I had secured him by wrapping him round and round 
with lengths of lialine cord. His eyes glared, and he 
muttered threats of vengeance through his beak ; but 
he was helpless, and I hoped to get him home in 


He was fifteen inches in length, with twenty-six 
spread of wing, bright green and yellow as to his 
plumage, and a very robust and handsome bird. I 
found, upon later investigation, that this species breeds 
in April and May, making the nest in a cavity in the 
broken shaft of a tall palm, and returning every year, 
digging it deeper and deeper. Here two round white 
eggs are laid, and two young are reared. If caught 
very young the birds are easily taught to speak, and 
even the old ones ; but there is as much difference in 
parrots as in individuals. They feed on the seeds 
of the milk wood, soap wood, wild cashew, clammy 
cherry, pigeon peas, pomme de Ucm/ne^ etc., according 
to the season. 

Depositing my belligerent bird in a safe place, 
securely bound, I carefully searched the woods for 
other captures, bringing them to me by a call the 
Oaribs had taught me years before. I have found 
that in deep woods it is better to call the birds to 
you, than to go out hunting blindly for them. Sit- 
ting down upon a rock I endeavored to attract what- 
ever of bird life the woods contained within reach of 
my voice. The first to respond were the manakins 
and thrushes, who seemed quite indignant that I paid 
no attention to them, and almost flirted their tails in 
my face, in their attempts to convince me that they 
were there. 

At last I heard a subdued whistle, a muffled cry, 
that told me of the presence of trogons. I whistled 
in reply, and soon had the satisfaction of hearing 
another ; but it ceased, and I had given it up when. 


glancing my eye upward, I saw the gleam of warm 
carmine and made out the figure of a bird sitting on 
a branch. He fell a victim to his curiosity, and 
others also, who came about in numbers, giving me 
a good chance to study their motions. 

They are very inquisitive birds, and can be at- 
tracted' by imitating their whistles at any time, an- 
swering promptly until they are near the person call- 
ing them, when they do not fly away, but sometimes 
sit still, stupidly staring. 

Their note is in four distinct sentences — "koo- 
koo-koo-koo" — their flights are short and frequent, 
and, from the softness of their plumage, silent and 
spiritlike are their approaches. The trogons are pe- 
culiar chiefly to the tropical Americas, the most 
beautiful of the family being found in Mexico and 
Centra] America — the Trogon resplendens — ^the Quet- 
zal of the Aztecs, or the royal bird of the Monte- 

The species found in Tobago is the Trogon eo- 
larisy a very beautiful bird, and one much sought 
after by the hunters for the millinery markets. The 
male is ten inches in length, and fifteen across his 
wings, has a yellow bill, small black feet, dark eye, 
pink eyelid, with a bare space of white beneath the 
lower lid. The whole under surface of his body is 
rich carmine, with a crescent of white across the 
breast, and beneath is a gorget of green. The upper 
parts are a golden green, and the entire aspect of the 
bird in the woods is that of a creature especially fitted 
for glowing and tropical surroundings. The female 



has soberer coloi-a than the male, but is a fit consort 
for her beautiful epouse. 

Rojal TrogoD of Mexico. 

It does not take long in the telling ; but the tale 
of a day is soon over. By the time the trogons had ■ 


ceased to engage my attention the woods were get- 
ting dusky again, and the night birds were stirring. 
It was perhaps two miles back to camp, but I had 
come by a circuitous course, and resolved to open up 
a more direct path between the two places without 

Psittacus, the parrot (for that was his name — PsiU 
tacua festiv^ua *), was still undaunted, and showed me 
what he meant to do when once he had regained his 
freedom. I made a soft bed of moss for him in my 
game basket, carried him carefully to camp, and that 
night constructed a temporary cage out of a biscuit 
box. He raged like a fury, at first, when let loose, 
but finally accepted the situation, ate the cracker I 
gave him, and settled down quietly for the night. 

* The Psittacus festivus, or " festive parrot," inhabits the 
north part of South America — Guiana, Cayenne, the Brazils, and 
particularly the lower Amazons. ... It is docile and easily tamed, 
and being of an imitative disposition, readily learns to pronounce 
words and sentences with great clearness and precision. — Natural- 
ist's Library. 



Fireflies and fire beetles — Centipedes, chigoes, and scorpions — 
Edible grubs from the palm — Processions of ants with um- 


My solitary life became so attractive that my only 
fear was that it might be broken in npon — ^at any mo- 
ment my retreat might be invaded. With this fear 
npon me, I did nothing that would attract the atten- 
tion of passing boats, snch as keeping a bright fire 
burning at night, or creating a smoke by day. The 
little food that I needed to have cooked was prepared 
with a very small fire, which the heat of the climate 
rendered unnecessary for warmth. 

I had some books, but managed to read them main- 
ly by daylight ; or if at night, 1 resorted to a simple 
device. My meadow was always alive with fire bee- 
tles, glorious great insects, which sported there in 
myriads, and gleamed among the trees of the adjacent 
forest as well. In size they were superior to our 
northern fireflies, some of them being nearly two 
inches in length. Their luminous spots were on their 
shoulders, one on each side of the head, like lamps on 

a carriage, and from these they flashed a mild though 



steady radiance ; quite unlike our firefly, which gives 
out only a feeble, intermittent light. This species is 
the Pyrophorus noctilucus^ or the nocturnal light 
bearer, and is peculiar, as the naturalists say, to the 
tropics. In Cuba and Puerto Rico they are called 
cucujos^ and the ladies of those islands attach them to 
their dresses, as bright ornaments, where they flash 
and gleam like costliest gems. 

Well, in short, I caught and bottled a lot of those 
fire beetles, and used them as substitutes for candles. 
The imprisoned beetles emitted a pale, greenish light, 
and by holding a bottle full near a printed page, I 
was enabled to read quite readily. They even served 
to illuminate my hut, for I caught a great many, 
and putting them in white flasks, the mouths of 
which were covered with muslin, I hung them 
around the walls. I released them every morning, 
and at night imprisoned a fresh supply, feeding 
them on sweets, of which they partook with evident 

These insects were really very serviceable ; but 
there were others, some of which had made their ap- 
pearance in my hut, not so pleasant to contemplate. 
Probably the worst pests of the tropics are the centi- 
pede, tarantula, and scorpion. All of them like to 
hide beneath the thatch of the hut, and all are hide- 
ous in appearance. The stings of all three are poi- 
sonous, sometimes fatally so, especially to young chil- 
dren. Of the three, the centipede, I think, is the 
most to be feared, as it moves almost with the rapid- 
ity of light, leaving behind it — if it traverses the limb 


or body of a human being — a venomous track, punc- 
tured in the skin. 

Its poisonous punctures are made by the front pair 
of feet, which are supplied with poisonous ducts or 
glands ; but its sting is even worse, and sufficient to 
cause fever in a grown person. The natives fear it 
far more than they do the scorpion or the tarantula, 
and have a superstitious dread of it. With its flat, 
glistening body, its scores of legs twinkling, and its 
rapid motions, it appears the very embodiment of evil 
— as it is. 

As to the tarantulas, I saw but few of them ; but 
one leaped at my hand one morning, and came so near 
seizing it with its horrible hairy legs that I was very 
much shocked. I killed it, and then instituted a search 
for others of its kind, finding but one, its mate, which 
I sent to join the first. 

A more insidious foe is the chigoe, or jigger, a spe- 
cies of flea, which burrows beneath the skin of one's 
toes, unless one is constantly on the watch, and there 
lays eggs which develop into festering sores. 

Being constantly on the alert, knowing my de- 
fenseless condition, so far from all human help, I for- 
tunately escaped every kind of insect inimical to me, 
and was not bitten even by an ant, though this mi- 
nute insect was abundant and sometimes annoying. 
Indeed, I got more pleasure from watching the vari- 
ous species of ants at work than I experienced an- 
noyance from all together. That was a momentous 
occasion, for instance, when I first saw the marching 
millions of them in the forest. I had taken the trail 


leading from my hut on the beach into the deep forest 
— a path over which I had walked at least a score of 
times before — and I presently reached a spot where 
the shade was so dense that it made a sort of twilight. 

Suddenly there appeared to my astonished eyes 
something that caused me to rub them in doubt wheth- 
er I were not dreaming ; for right in front of me, cross- 
ing the path, was a band of green, stretching across 
the dun-colored earth. And as my eyes became 
accustomed to the dim light, so that I could observe 
it more particularly, I saw that this green ribbon 
was moving regularly along, like the belt over a fac- 
tory wheel. At first it seemed to be soHd and un- 
broken, but soon I detected many divisions in the line, 
and saw that it was composed of thousands of bits of 
leaves, each about half an inch in diameter. Upon 
turning over some of these leaf -fragments, I found 
that the motive power of each one was a big red ant, 
who clung to it desperately, and as soon as released 
took its place in the ranks again. For many minutes 
I watched the verdant procession, but it seemed no 
nearer the end than when I first saw it. 

Out of the dusky woods on one side the path it 
emerged, and into the depths on the other it disap- 
peared, traveling tirelessly onward to some destination 
unknown to me. I could not very well trace its course, 
the forest being so dense ; but there must have been 
millions of ants in the column, all marching in per- 
fect order, and evidently with some definite end in 

We know that these insects have excited the won- 

der and odmiratioa of all ohservere, from the time of 

have been carefully studied by some of the most emi- 
nent naturalists. 


The very species that I had the good fortune to 
find crossing my path, that morning in the forest, is 
described by Mr. Alfred Wallace, who found it in the 
Amazons region of Brazil. It seems to prefer a dis- 
trict where red earth is abundant, and there it builds 
great mounds, sometimes twenty feet across and three 
or four feet in height. "These hillocks," says the 
famous naturalist just mentioned, "are riddled with 
holes in every direction, and into them the ants may 
be seen dragging little circular pieces of leaf, which 
they cut off from particular trees preferred by them. 
Orange trees and leguminous shrubs suffer most from 
their ravages, and these they sometimes entirely strip 
of their foliage in a night or two. Young plants, too, 
suffer very much, and can not be grown in some 
places on account of them. They remain in one lo- 
cality for a long time ; for, on my observing to a gen- 
tleman at a cattle estate near Para how remarkably 
the track of these ants was wonx across the pathway 
and through the grass, he informed me that he had 
observed them marching along that very track for 
fifteen or twenty years." 

This, then, was the explanation of the green rib- 
bon across the trail : It was composed of ants carrying 
to their nests leaves with which to line their cells. 
Those that do this work are what is known in the 
ant world as "neuters"; they are very strong and 
have tremendous jaws. It would be next to impossi- 
ble to depict this band of ants under their leaf shelters 
with any degree of accuracy. In fact, a picture of 
that green strip, with no hint of the ants which car- 


ried it along, would remind one of the Dutch artist's 
celebrated picture. When he delivered it to his 
patron, who had ordered a painting of the Israelites 
crossing the Red Sea, there was nothing visible but a 
broad expanse of water. 

" But where are the Israelites ? " demanded the 
astonished purchaser. 

" Oh, they are all gone over." 
" But the Egyptians, where are they ? " 
"Why, they are all drowned! Only the sea is 
left, and that is before you." 

These insects, which are known as the great-headed 
red ants, not only use their powerful scissors- jaws upon 
the leaves of trees and plants, but should they find a 
tablecloth or handkerchief, or anything of that kind 
on the ground, will cut out of it neat little semicircu- 
lar holes, taking the pieces away to their nests. 
Whether or not they use these bits of cloth for lining 
their nests, or put them to their proper use as napkins 
and handkerchiefs, I can not say. 

At certain seasons of the year, however, the In- 
dians of Brazil make barbarous reprisals for all their 
devastations. " Then " savs Mr. Wallace, " the female 
ants come out of their holes in great numbers, and are 
caught by the Indians by the basketful. The insects 
are very sluggish, and never fly, though furnished at 
the time with wings. When they come out there is 
great excitement in the Indian village, all the young 
men, women, and children setting themselves to the 
catching of the 'saubas,' as they call them. They 
are kept in calabashes and bottle-shaped baskets, 


the mouths of which are stopped up with a few 

" It is a rather siagular sight to see for the first 
time an Indian taking his breakfast in the 'sauba' 
season. The insects are actually eaten alive, the ant 
being held by its head, as we would hold a strawberry 
by its stem, and the abdomen bitten off. The only 
part eaten is the abdomen, which is very rich and fatty, 
from the mass of undeveloped eggs. Having secured 
the edible part of the ant, the head and thorax, with 
the wings and legs attached, are thrown to the ground, 
where the wretched insect crawls about as though un- 
aware of the loss of its posterior extremities. The 
Indians not only eat them fresh, but also smoke and 
salt them for future use, regarding them as the choic- 
est of their dainties." 

I was not aware of all the uses to which these ants 
could be put, when they crossed my trail in the woods ; 
but if I had been, I doubt greatly that I should have 
considered them available as articles of diet, even 
though my larder was not always well supplied. 

I did not suffer from lack of sustenance, to be 
sure, but I craved greater variety ; so one day I cut 
down a tall "palmiste," or cabbage palm, in order 
to obtain its terminal bud, which is most delicious 
boiled and served as cabbage or cauliflower. It 
might seem an act of vandalism, this cutting down a 
tree over a hundred feet in height ; but as there were 
thousands of those palms, and no one had a better 
claim to them than myself, I felt that it would not be 
very much missed. 


It was within this palm, I was going to say, that I 
found a grub or beetle larva of the so-called palm 
worm, which is considered a great delicacy by the na- 
tives. They roast it and fry it, as well ; but though it 
might be palatable, I could nbt bring myself to eat 
it, and can not testify as to its excellence. 

To one who can find company as I did in bird, 
beast, and insect, and to whom all the " lower orders " 
have stories to relate, the time will never seem to 
lag. My chief concern was, that so much appealed to 
me, I felt the days were not half long enough ; and so 
much arises now in retrospect that I am unable to de- 
scribe all I saw and found most interesting. 

What suits one person, to be sure, may not suit 
another, and if my story fails to interest those for 
whom it is written, I can only plead that it is the ac- 
count of my doings, such as they were, and I have 
nothing else to relate. 




Psittacus, the wild parrot, surprises me by speaking French. Not 
like Crusoe's parrot, but a very bad boy indeed — He finds 
a mate and rears a little family. 

In the chapter next preceding the last I told of 
ray capture of a parrot, but I have not related how 
the parrot captured me. He was placed in a wooden 
box, and after I had eaten my supper and made every- 
thing snug for the night I went to sleep, as usual, in 
my hammock. Shortly after daybreak the next 
morning I was awakened by a gentle agitation of my 
hammock, and peering out, saw in the gloom some- 
thing clinging to the lower end. Looking up quickly, I 
said, " Hola ! Who's there ? " There was an answer- 
ing chuckle, and a gruff voice replied, " Hullo ! hullo, 
massa ! " 

A reply was certainly more than I had expected, 
and I leaped out of the hammock in alarm, kicking 
the door open to let in the light. Then I saw my 
prisoner of the night before hanging to the netting, 
in which he had torn a large hole, and swinging glee- 
fully from side to side. He was master of the situa- 
tion, for he resisted with beak and claw every effort 



I made to capture him, and so I left him in possession 
while I took my bath and prepared my breakfast. 

During breakfast, and long after, I speculated 
upon the strange fact that this wild parrot should be 
able to speak, and in my own tongue. My desire to 
make his further acquaintance overcame my fear of 
his formidable beak, and so, taking a banana and a 
cracker as peace offerings, I looked into the hut. A 
sorrowful sight rewarded me, for the bird had 
wreaked his wrath on the hammock to such an extent 
that a portion of it was hanging in strings, and he 
was now beginning on the palm thatch overhead. He 
desisted as I appeared, and dropped to the floor, 
where he with difficulty waddled to a perch on a 
barrel, and held out his foot for the banana. His 
aspect was still fierce, but not wholly resentful, and 
imder cover of the food offering I began to talk to 
him. Having his mouth full, at first he refused to 
talk, only muttering unintelligibly, but when the 
banana was gone he cocked up his head and said in 
French, " Give me another ! " 

This was another surprise, for the nearest island 
in which French is spoken is Granada, nearly a hun- 
dred miles distant. But this was not the only phrase 
he could utter in that language, for he rolled out 
quite a string of epithets in the French patois spoken 
by the common people of the Antilles. I was amazed 
and grieved — amazed at his knowledge, and grieved 
that he should prove such a sad sinner. I had hoped 
for a good little bird like Crusoe's, who would be a 
decent companion to me and talk decorously ; but in- 


stead I had got a regular land pirate, a swaggering 
swashbuckler of a fellow, full of wickedness and 
strange words. 

Psittacus was watching my face, and seemed to 
take notice of every change, for he held his head over 
to one side and actually leered at me. Disappointed 
as I was and vexed, I could not but laugh at this 
worldly-wise old bird. After all, it was not his fault 
that he was here. If I had not so unceremoniously 
stopped his flight that morning, when he was winging 
his way westward in company with his mate, he 
would now be rejoicing in his freedom, instead of sit- 
ting here a wounded prisoner. 

It was my own fault ; no one else was to blame, 
least of all poor Psittacus, and I resolved to do all in 
my power to make amends for my brutal treatment 
of him, and to endure his vagaries patiently. So in 
this spirit I approached him, and he was quick to 
perceive the change. He climed up my outstretched 
arm at oiice and nestled up against my ear, purling to 
himself and murmuring, '^ Bon comrade^ hon com- 
rade.^^ This cheered me, though I was rather un- 
easy at his proximity to my face; but he had not, 
evidently, connected me with the man who had 
brought his troubles upon him, and appeared to have 
made up his mind to accept both me and the new 
conditions vrithout further ado. 

From that time forth a spirit of camaraderie ex- 
isted between us that nothing could impair. Instead 
of regarding me as the author of all his woes, he 
rather looked upon me as his great and good friend 


and purveyor. He had the utmost confidence in me ; 
having accepted me through intuition, nothing what- 
ever could make him distrust his judgment. 

His manners did not mend, though, I grieve to say 
— ^not through any fault of his, but because he had no 
doubt about it that they vsrere the best manners in 
the world. Like his speech, they had been acquired 
probably by contact with some member or members 
of my own family, and his perception was not fine 
enough to note the distinctions between the different 
strata composing human society. 

He was like a child in this respect, accepting 
everybody and everything at its face value, without 
question. I resolved to teach him, if possible, by my 
example, as it was impossible to reach his intelligence 
by precept ; but I must confess that Conscience had a 
laugh at my expense. " What right had a would-be 
murderer to set himself up as the moral instructor 
of one who had only escaped his deadly aims by ac- 
cident ? " 

That was a blunt question, but a sharp thrust, 
nevertheless, and I had to confess that Conscience 
had the best of it. Luckily, Psittacus could not see 
what a struggle was going on in my mind, or else he, 
sharp old rascal that he was, would have taken great 
advantage of it. At it was, he escaped many a repri- 
mand on account of my qualms, and though he doubt- 
less attributed the tenderness and consideration with 
which I treated him to his own personal attractions, 
yet he got the benefit, just the same. 

I did want to thrash him soundly when he tore my 


hammock and made holes through the roof, destroyed 
my bird skins and threw pebbles into my flour ; but I 
restrained myself, and punished him in a different 
way. Seeing that he was indeed incorrigible, or ap- 
peared to be, I fastened him to one of the palm trees 
by means of a long slender chain. It was arranged 
so that he could climb up and down the smooth bole 
at will and perch in the lower leaves ; and he at first 
took great delight in walking along the smooth mid- 
ribs and sliding down. But this at last palled upon 
him, and one day, after sitting long in deep medita- 
tion, he hobbled up to me and said, with a decided 
shake of his head, " Lora good." I took this to mean 
that he would not tear things to pieces any more, 
but I was doul fcf ul, and I glanced from my posses- 
sions to him and back again inquiringly, at which he 
repeated, " Good, Lora good." I set him loose again, 
and he really seemed to feel on honor, and behaved 
so prettily that I feared his end was near and death 
would deprive me of him just as he had come to be 
so companionable. For after that he sat at table with 
me, conversing gravely in his polyglot dialect, and 
tried to accompany me wherever I went. If I left 
him to go on a hunt, he would perch on the ridgepole 
of the hut and await my return with great anxiety, 
hailing me at sight with loud cries of joy. 

His wings soon healed, and after the first molting 
the wing feathers grew out again, and he could fly at 
will ; but he preferred my company to the old forest 
life, and if he made long excursions during the day, 
it was only to return at night and nestle against my 


ehoulder. He was afraid of the report of iny gun, 
fortunately for me, for the fear was always haunting 
me that he would 
8orely recollect 
the circumstances 
of our first meet- 
ing, if he ever saw 
me shoot another 
bird. In fa<!t, af- 
ter he had been 
gravely watching 
rae one day en- 
gaged in skinning 
and preparing 
some birds I had 
shot, he suddenly 
broke a long pe- 

riodof Silencewith Parrota of Tobago. 

a piercing shriek, 

and sidled off to a distance, where he regarded me 
with looks of horror, or so it seemed to me. I felt 
BO guilty that I hardly dared look him in the face ; 
but that flash of recollection eoon faded, apparently, 
or his great heart resolved on abnegation, for he came 
back eventually to his post on my shoulder. 

We had long talks together, and I tried to set be- 
fore him the many virtues of " Polly Crusoe," who 
lived with her master " no less than six and twenty 
Years " ; but Fsittacua, though he would listen with 
all gravity and attention, evidently didn't approve of 
Polly Crusoe, for he would jabber a long protest in 


patois^ to the effect that he thought her a prig, and 
one who didn't know how to have a good time. 

At the close of one long spring day, after having 
been absent from eariy morning, Psittacus came fly* 
ing back to camp with another parrot in his company, 
evidently a female, whom he had chosen as his mate. 
They circled around the bay a few times, probably in 
order to allow me to get acquainted, and then both 
alighted on the palm nearest my door. 

The new bird remained in the palm while Psit- 
tacus made for me, with his most rakish and swash- 
buckler air, and tried to engage my attention. To 
tease him a bit I pretended not to be aware of the 
presence of his charmer in the tree, and busied myself 
about my birds. This was resented, as I knew it would 
be, and he gave me a tweak of the ear that drew blood. 
I then looked around and gazed into the tree, at which 
he flew back and took up a position by her side, where 
he sat billing and cooing, after the most approved 

I placed a double allowance of his favorite food at 
his end of the table and did the best I could to signify 
to them that both were welcome, and after some urg- 
ing on his part his sweetheart joined us. She was at 
first coy and rather suspicious of me, but behaved well, 
and made herself very agreeable. As for Psittacus, 
he could not eat from great delight, and alternately 
bobbed his head from her to me, all the time. I knew 
from his actions that this could not be his old mate, 
for they did not behave like a couple long married, 
but more like the newlv wed. I taxed Psittacus with 


infideKty and inconstancy in seeking a maiden, when 
the old one was probably weeping her heart out at his 
absence. He did not deny the accusation, and rather 
seemed proud of tlie fact that he still retained charms 
enough of his youth to fascinate such a " dear little 
duck " as the one before us. 

But it came with bad grace from me to chide my 
protege^ when it was I who had made of the former 
Mrs. Psittacus a widow, or at least a " grass widow." So 
I did not pursue the subject, seeing that it was no mat- 
ter of mine whether he were wed to the damsel or not. 
She was adopted into the family, became greatly at- 
tached to me, and I loved her for her sweet nature and 
gentle manner. They fed at my table when the fancy 
took them, but established their own household in the 
hollow of a dead palmiste on the edge of the wood. 
Here they dwelt very happily, and the young they 
reared, from the pretty eggs Mrs. Psittacus the sec- 
ond deposited on the dry chips at the bottom of the 
hollow, were taught to look upon me as a friend and 

I have gone ahead of my story somewhat, in this 
sketch of one of my feathered friends, but I couldn't 
consistently abandon him, after giving him such a bad 
character at the beginning. As Crusoe himself says : 
"How long he might live afterwards I know not; 
though I know they have a Notion in the Brasils that 
theyl^ive a hundred Years; perhaps poor Poll may 
be alive there still, calling after ' poor Kobin Crusoe' 
to this Day I " 



I capture a coon — Some agoutis also — Mocking birds and doves — 
Sea swallows and pelicans— Tropic birds and men-o'-war. 

It was more through accident than by design that 
I became the possessor of a " happy family " ; but 
gradually there gathered about me a little group of 
animals that seemed to look up to me as their master 
and their protector. 

It is pleasant, when one has no human companion, 
to feel that he is not altogether deserted, and I wel- 
comed with feelings of joy these members of the 
lower classes in feathers and fur. 

Although I had made excursions into the woods, 
still I had not fully investigated the open level and 
the beautiful meadow back of my hut and between it 
and the forest. In truth, you know, one is rarely ac- 
quainted with his nearest neighbors. We are prone 
to overlook most interesting things near at hand in 
our search for other things, perhaps not so valuable, 
far away. So I resolved to become better acquainted 
with the animals to be found in the section immedi- 
ately contiguous to my bay, and with that purpose set 

about examining my surroundings. 



Tlie first addition to my household was what the 
natives of the West Indies call the " wild dog," which 
I captured aa I was hunting one afternoon along the 
banicB of ray river. Seeing a strange animal shuffling 
along ahead of me, looking for crabs and crayfish, I 
gave chase and seized it by the tail, just as it was 
about to plunge over the river bank. It snapped at 
me, scratched, spit, and growled horribly, but at last 

A pair of Agoutis. 

I succeeded in binding it with lianes, and getting it to 
the hut, where I found it to be a raccoon, about two 
thirds grown. 

At first it gave me much trouble, but eventually 
became attached to me, and watched for my coming 
as anxiously as did the parrot. 


Finding that something was devouring the tubers 
I had planted in the garden, I watched awhile and 
soon discovered the enemy in a squad of agoutis, 
small, harelike animals of a golden-brown color. 
Setting my ingenuity to match theirs, the result was 
that three sleek, slender " 'goutis " became my prison- 
ers. They were mild of disposition, quickly became 
reconciled to captivity, and expected me to caress them 
every time I approached their cage. They have some- 
what the habit of rabbits, are perpetually sniffing the 
air with their sensitive nostrils, feed upon tender leaves 
and vegetables, are shy and nervous, but affectionate 
and responsive. 

I do not like to see wild animals captive, and would 
have let them go if it had not been for the damage 
they would have done my garden ; but they seemed 
to enjoy their imprisonment, and I made all amends 
possible by giving them choice things to eat and roomy 

In the first three months of my stay I had gath- 
ered about me these agoutis, the coon, the parrots, a 
tame trogon, and other friends among the smaller 
tribes. Mocking birds and doves lived constantly 
about my door, and a flock of terns, or sea swallows, 
made the river basin their rendezvous, fluttering above 
and around me when at work on the beach, and walk- 
ing about unconcernedly at all times. 

I cultivated the best of relations with my feathered 
friends, never doing anything to disturb them, and con- 
stantly having them in mind, especially when I had 
something they liked to eat, or for the building of 


their nests. In this manner I lived so happily that I 
even forgot to ask myself if I was happy, and I have 
learned this as the result of my lonely cogitations : 
That happiness is an article that can not be made to 
order. It must be the outgrowth of labors devoted 
to some other end, and must come to you, as it will, 
unsought. If you have a purpose that fills your soul, 
that engages your affections — whether it be charity or 
study, travel or agriculture — whatever it be, if pur- 
sued with ardor, it is quite Hkely to bring you happi- 

Crusoe says that he " found a kind of wild Pidg- 
eons, who built not as wood Pidgeons, in a Tree ; but 
rather as house Pidgeons, in holes in the Eocks." 
These may have been the great blue pigeons, which 
are now rare in the island ; but I am inclined to think 
they were not pigeons at all, but birds altogether dif- 
ferent. For Crusoe's knowledge of natural history 
was extremely limited, and he hardly " knew a hawk 
from a hernshaw." 

Breeding in holes in the great cliffs, were the birds 
which, I think, he mistook for pigeons — the graceful 
Tropic Birds, trimmest and handsomest of sea fowl. 

The generic name of the " Tropic," Phaethon^ is 
that of the audacious young man, who (as narrated in 
the Greek mythology) undertook to guide the chariot of 
the sun, and having nearly set the world on fire, was 
hurled by Jupiter into th^ sea. 

The name is well bestowed upon this sun-loving 
bird, but it is found nearer the sea than the heavens. 
It is very conspicuous at sea, in the tropical waters, 


and maj always be identified by the long feathers in 
its tail. These are two in number and are filiform, or 
cylindrical, having somewhat the appearance of straws, 


from which it is sometimes called the " straw bird," as 
by the sailors it is denominated the " bo' sen," from its 
shrill cries, like a boatswain's whistle. 

Another strange bird, never seen out of tropic 
latitudes, is the great frigate bird, the Fregata 
aquila^ its specific name probably derived from the 
Latin for an eagle. Though the frigate bird delights 
in the neighborhood of high cliflis, where its eggs 
are deposited and the young are reared in the breed- 
ing season, it may nearly always be seen sailing 

It is more truly a sun lover, more an explorer of 
the upper atmosphere, than the eagle himself. It 
sails on scarce-moving wings for hours at a time, 
circling higher and higher, until finally a mere speck 
in the sky, then lost to sight entirely. 

These man-o'-war birds, as the sailors call them, 
are seldom seen to alight, except in the height of the 
breeding season, during the period of incubation, or 
at night as they return to their roosting places. They 
leave the cliffs at early dawn and fly far out at sea, 
returning at evening in great numbers. The black 
hunters shoot them as they soar above the headlands 
or fly along the shore and at the mouths of rivers, 
where they sometimes come to drink and fish. 

The tropic birds sailed high in air or darted 
athwart the sky, rarely visiting the bay, making their 
I'esting places in the rocks on either side ; but the 
water was always enlivened by the presence of the 
terns, or sea swallows. They flew screaming over the 
surface, dove into the water after small fry, and after 


fishing busily for hours, alighted on the reefs and 
rocks and preened their feathers. 

There was one species of gull — a. laughing gull 
(Larus atricUla) — which awoke the echoes with its 
harsh cries and annoyed the clumsy pelicans by steal- 
ing their fish away, after they had secured their 
pouches full. The solemn pelicans always fished in- 
dustriously, when not pursuing their lumbering flight 
along the shore. Scanning the water as they flew, 
they would suddenly drop upon a shoal of fish, seize 
several in their bills, and then elevate their heads and 
endeavor to throw the fish into their pouches. 

This was the moment the gulls had been awaiting, 
and they would dart forward before the pelicans had 
shaken the water from their eyes, seize the fish from 
their very mouths, and fly off, laughing heartily at the 
victims of their cunning. The stupid pelicans would 
pay no attention to this robbery, but go on with their 
fishing as though nothing had happened. 

These pelicans were, doubtless, the birds which 
Crusoe thought to be "penguins," the great, gray 
species ; they sometimes floated in my bay in front of 
the hut for hours, like so many clumsy Dutch vessels 
at anchor. Morning and evening they were always 
actively fishing, and I watched them with interest, 
wondering whence they drew those inexhaustible sup- 
plies of fish, which had supported so many thousands 
of them for countless years. 

The birds of the sea were engaging,- introducing 
agreeable action into my otherwise solitary harbor ; but 
the land birds were most dear to me, on account of 


their greater friendliness and intelligence. Perhaps, 
as some have said, a fish diet promotes intellectual 
activity in human beings, but it certainly is not so 
with birds. 

My mocking birds, who had established their 
home quite close to the hut, were most precious to 
me. It may indicate a degree of false pride, perhaps, 
for me to assume that the " mockers " took delight in 
my society ; but their actions seemed to show it, and 
that's all I had to judge by. 

All the day long and far into the night, they 
poured forth their delightful songs. As their nest 
was built in a low tree close to my hut, 1 watched the 
progress of their domestic arrangements, and 1 am 
sure I was as glad as they when their first brood was 
successfully hatched and launched in air. 

From this account it will be seen that I was favored 
with the best of company, and I used to think, with 
Crusoe, that " it would have made a Stoick smile to 
have seen me and my little Family." 



The biggest birds in Tobago — Those curious cockerricos — Lost in 
the woods — Saved from a serpent — A snake fourteen feet long 
— The hidden enemy in the bamboo clump. 

Two days of rain kept me within doors and con- 
fined to the beach, where I cultivated the acquaintance 
of my feathered neighbors. But the morning of the 
third day brought me release, and with gun in hand I 
plunged into the forest. With the coming of the 
rainy season the woods began to ring with the cries of 
those noisy birds called by the natives " cockerricos," 
and it was to procure a few of them, if possible, that 
I went into the forest. 

They are the noisiest, but at the same time the 
shyest, of all the birds in these woods. Their loud 
cries in the morning reminded me of a passage in that 
fascinating book written by the famous botanist Bar- 
tram, who hunted in Florida over a hundred years 
ago, when it was mainly a wilderness, inhabited only 
by Indians. He says : " I was awakened every morn- 
ing early by the cheerful converse of the wild turkey 
cocks saluting each other from the sun-brightened 
tops of the cypress and magnolia. They begin at 



dawn and continue till sunrise, and the high forests 
ring with the noise of the rival sentinels, the watch- 
word being caught and repeated from one to another 
for hundreds of miles around, insomuch that the 
whole country is for an hour or more in an universal 

I followed in Bartram's footsteps in Florida, one 
hundred years later, but the wild turkeys had near- 
ly disappeared: though one memorable morning I 
shot four noble birds, the only ones I ever secured. 
There are no wild turkeys in Tobago, and the cock- 
erricos are the largest bird to be found there, being 
about two feet in length and little more in extent of 

It is never safe to venture far in the rainy season, 
but I was so glad to get out into the woods once 
more that I tramped for two hours before halting. 
Then down came the rain, and I sought shelter beneath 
a big tree, in which I had reason to believe some cock- 
erricos were feeding. But as I tried to look aloft the 
great drops of water splashed into my eyes, from or- 
chids and wild pines, and at the same time the birds 
were hushed by the rainfall, and I had no guide to 
their position. 

The woods were as quiet as a graveyard, the only 
sounds to be heard being the pattering of the rain- 
drops on the leaves; but I felt sure that the birds 
were warily watching me. And at last, when, in 
sheer desperation, I walked out into the open, imme- 
diately there was a great shouting and cackling in the 
treetops, and a wild dash of frightened cockerricos in 


the I opposite direction. Quickly throwing up my gun 
and sighting almost at random, I pulled trigger, and 
one of the birds fell crashing through the branches to 
the ground. Picking it up, 1 retreated to the shelter 
of the tree, where the mass of parasitic plants on bole 
and branches shunted off the rain, and was pleased to 
find that I had shot a full-grown male. 

This bird, which is locally named from its loud 
and harsh cry, belongs to the family Crdcidm^ which 
contains among others that strange bird, the " cha- 
cha-la-ka " of Mexico. There I shot one, in the ruins 
of IJxmal, years before, and found it as wary as this 
species, and possessed of as strange a cry. This 
" shout " of the cockerrico can be heard for miles, and 
is produced by a specially -arranged apparatus, for its 
larynx is very long, being fastened to the lower end 
of the sternum and reflexed upon itself, passing back 
and entering the thoracic cavity. It is curved like a 
French horn, and it is little wonder that its possessor 
can make himself heard for miles distant from his 
place of feeding. 

It is almost omnivorous in its appetite, but feeds 
chiefly upon the seeds and buds of trees and vines, 
such as the milkweed, fiddle wood, clammy cherry, 
wild grapes, sugar apple, sapadillo, cabbage palm, 
etc. The name given to this bird by the naturaUsts 
is Ortalis rujicauda^ and the family to which it be- 
longs is confined to the tropical forests of the New 
World, ranging from Mexico to Paraguay, in the 
West Indies representatives being found only in 
Trinidad and Tobago. 


That was a day of diBaster, and I should have ac- 
cepted the downpour of rain, coming as it did bo un- 
expectedly and unwarrantably, as an omen of ill luck, 
and have returned to my house at once. But I did 
not wish to retire from the field so early in the day, 



and though a long distance away, farther than I had 
wandered before, I took advantage of whatever lulls 
there were in the storm to push my way yet farther 
into the forest. 

With head bent over to avoid the rain as much m 


possible, hat pulled over my eyes, and gun held under 
my arm to keep the breech dry, I was plodding up a 
steep hillside, when I heard a whirr of warning, and 
looking up saw a vicious snake gazing directly into 
my eyes. The hill was so steep that, the snake being 
about four or five feet away only, and above me, he 
was then on a level with my head. 

Without removing ray gun from its position be- 
neath my arm, I pulled the trigger at once, so excited 
was I at the unexpected prospect of close quarters 
with a serpent, with every advantage on his side. In- 
stead of blovring his head to pieces, as I expected, the 
charge tore the earth directly over it, and the ser- 
pent, after brandishing the head which I had intended 
to demolish, threateningly in my face, and darting out 
with lightning-like rapidity a forked tongue, like a 
flame of fire, slowly crawled away. 

I had another charge in my gun, and could have 
reloaded in an instant, but was so surprised at the 
failure of my aim, and so struck with the magna- 
nimity of the serpent, that I stood irresolute, while he 
crept away. He went off in triumph, too, turning now 
and then to dart at me his glowing tongue, and to re- 
mind me that it was only through his forbearance 
that I was left without a modicum of poison in my 

Perhaps I am not of the heroic clay of which the 
world's subduers are molded ; at all events, I was 
more glad at my escape than desirous to fight that ser- 
pent, and leaned against a tree, faint vsrith emotion. 
Quickly recovering myself, I plodded on, but now 


with resolve to seek my house and terminate the ad- 
ventures of this evil day. 

Taking the direction, as I thought, of my hilltop, 
I walked for an hour or more, the rain still falling, 
when, chancing to glance downward, I saw the very 
spot where my charge of shot had struck the earth as 
I had fired at the serpent. This was an unwelcome 
discovery, for it told me that I had lost my way. 

In all my wood life in various lands I have never 
made the discovery that I was walking in a circle, 
without feeling a sinking at the heart. And I knew, 
from previous experience, that the best thing I could 
do was to sit right down and try to think it out. 

It must have been the fault of the snake that 
my course, instead of being straight and direct, as 
usual, was now sinuous, serpentine! The sun was 
obscured, the trees dripping water, the clouds black 
and dense ; a gloom as of a coming deluge overhung 
the forest. 

But so long as life and strength belong to one, it 
is weak and foolish to give up and despair. It is 
oftener better to sit down and wait for the clouds to 
roll by than to plunge blindly ahead, as was proved 
to me in this instance, for in an hour the sun shone 
out and I was enabled to go on again. 

Ascending a hill, where the trees were not quite so 
thick, I was soon possessed of my direction, and then 
turned about toward my camp, which was yet a long 
way off. Breaking out of the dense woods I came 
to the bank of a beautiful stream, above which sloped 
a hillside dotted with great clumps of bamboos. 


The bamboos, as of course you know, grow alto- 
gether in the tropics, and are very fine objects in the 
landscape there. The clumps of bamboo that I saw 
on the hillside seemed so attractive that I thought I 
would go up to examine them. 

If a native of the island had been with me I 
should not have done such a thing, for he would have 
warned me against it. But, being alone, I rashly 
ventured, not knowing that anything more harmful 
than birds or lizards ever inhabited the pretty clusters 
of long, lancelike bamboo shafts, with their yellow 
stems and narrow green leaves. 

I selected one of the largest clumps and, with my 
gun in the hollow of my arm, advanced upon it, as 
though going forward to storm a fort. For when in 
the forests of a strange land I always use caution in 
whatever I do, and hold my gun ready for instant use. 

But, notwithstanding my caution, I did not expect 
the surprise in store for me. I noticed that some of 
the bamboo shafts were swaying wildly, as if a storm 
was beating on them, though the air was calm and no 
wind was blowing. This fact excited my suspicions, 
and I scanned the clump narrowly before approach- 
ing nearer than thirty feet. 

And it was well I did so, for, as I halted a moment 
to examine the shafts, out sprang an immense boa con- 
strictor, to the length of more than half his hideous 
body. His tail and the lower half of his shining body 
were enwrapped about two or three of the bamboo 
stems, while the front half and the great head, with 
its glittering eyes and open mouth, were launched into 

Jumbo-Jocko, tho great Bon. 


the air. The head, with cruel white fangs and red 
mouth, seemed aimed directly at me, and I drew 
back in alarm, fearing the rest of the serpent would 

Directly in front of the horrible mouth, wliich was 
opened to its widest capacity, sat a small and inoffen- 
sive little agouti. It is somewhat like a rabbit in shape, 
but brown like a muskrat, and about as big as a wood- 
chuck. The serpent's head hung dangling within a 
foot or so of the trembling animal, which seemed un- 
able to stir from the spot. It did not notice my near 
presence either, nor did the serpent seem to, they were 
so absorbed, the one in the capture of its prey, and 
the other as though fascinated by the glittering eyes, 
which flashed like diamonds. 

But I could not endure the thought of the little 
creature going down into that cavernous maw, and, 
quickly sighting my gun at a spot between the boa's 
eyes, I fired. There was a great commotion, then the 
bamboos rattled as though they had been struck by a 
hurricane, and there was a thrashing in the grass as if 
some one was beating it with the branch of a tree. 
Through the smoke, however, I saw enough to con- 
vince me that my aim had been true, for the great 
body hung rather limp, and the head dangled almost 
straight down. 

Meanwhile the little agouti had recovered his* 
senses, and skipped away, I suppose, for I did not see 
him after ; he didn't even stop to thank me for his 
rescue from a living grave. I was on the point of going 
into the bamboo thicket to draw out the monster. 


when I happened to bethink me that these rascals 
usually hunt in pairs, and that perhaps the mate of 
the murdered serpent was waiting near to take re- 
venge. So I cut a bamboo pole and drew the slimy 
carcase out, using a great deal of caution, until at last 
it lay before me, glistening in the sun. 

Then I measured it and found it to be fourteen 
feet in length, or more than twice the height, if held 
upright, of an ordinary man. I have heard of boa 
constrictors of a length of thirty feet, but this one 
of fourteen was the largest that I ever killed. 

Although I have hunted through many a stretch 
of tropic forest, in Mexico and the West Indies, where 
serpents of many kinds are numerous, yet I have 
never entirely overcome my dread of the horrid rep- 
tiles. There are two kinds of serpents to be avoided 
— ^the boa, which kills its victims by crushing them 
between its folds, and the poisonous snake, which in- 
flicts death with its fangs. There is little danger from 
the boas, since they are not often met with in the 
West Indies more than large enough to crush and 
swallow a boy ; but from the poisonous serpents one 
is always in dread of an attack. 

There is one kind in the islands of Martinique and 
Saint Lucia called the fer de lanee^ which is not only 
very poisonous but a fighter. TJnhke the rattlesnake 
and other serpents, it will follow and attack human 
beings. And as it is very large, and injects into the 
veins of its victims three times the amount of venom 
that the ordinary serpent does, the effect of its bite is 
almost instant death. It haunts the sugar-cane fields, 


where it kills the rats and mice, and when the black 
laborers come to cut the cane it leaps upon and bites 
them, every year leaving a record of hundreds of 
deaths from its fangs. 

I afterward learned that this boa is called the 
'* Jumbo-Jocko " by the negroes, and that he has a 
preference for the bamboo clumps, where he entwines 
himself around the drooping canes, sometimes gorged 
and asleep, but more often very wide awake and on 
the lookout for prey. 

The island people are afraid of him and tell 
strange stories about his snakeship. They never 
trust themselves near his lair after sunset, and take 
particular care that little children shall not wander 
into the region where Jumbo-Jocko reigns, fie has 
been found over sixteen feet in length, often with 
large fowls in his maw ; and one was known to have 
killed and swallowed a fierce peccary, which is one 
of the wildest, wariest animals in the woods. 

It may well be imagined that I closely scanned 
every bamboo thicket, that evening, as I wended my 
way homeward, and that I saw many serpent heads, 
with fiery, gleaming eyes, peering at me from the 
shadows of the trail. 



How I got cocoa and coffee, and made flour from cassava — I find 
tobacco, maize, and rice ; also feast on turtle eggs. 

Above my head, as I came down the trail after 
shooting the serpent, a nighthawk darted ronnd and 
round, uttering strange cries. I tried in vain to cap- 
ture its companion, which flew persistently in front of 
me, suddenly alighting in the path at intervals, with 
tail and wings loosely spread, as though badly 

Other night prowlers bothered me also, such as 
bats and vampires, which flew across my path and 
unexpectedly swooped down upon me. Some were 
small, but others large as doves, true blood-sucking 
vampires, which flapped about like ghosts, so soft and 
noiseless was their flight. 

I found a curious group of them one day in the 
hollow trunk of an immense tree, where they had ar- 
ranged themselves in the figure of a triangle, with the 
base upward. There were six of them — three in the 
upper row, two in the next, and one at the point. 
In order to see what they would do if their arrange- 
ment were disturbed, I shot the lowermost one, and 



the rest all flew away. But the next evening they 
were back again and had rearranged themselves in the 
same form, making an inverted triangle, with the 
omission of the bat that haxi formed the point. 

But it was not of birds or bats that I wished to 
speak in this chapter ; rather of my attempts to make 
a garden and subdue the savagery of some of the 
native plants. The first month after my arrival at 
this desolate spot had been spent chiefly in the woods, 
though not wholly in hunting, for 1 had kept my eyes 
open for such things as might be useful in a garden 
and plantation. 

I had found seeds of the cacao in the pouch 
of a wood rat, shot on my first excursion, and that 
led me to look for the tree. This 1 found on the 
skirt of the forest, and not one tree only but a 
grove of the true " cacao," the chocolate-yielding 
bean. The name of this tree is derived from the 
Aztec cacahuatl^ and it is the Theohroma cacao of 
the botanists. 

The trees were some twenty feet in height, and 
were bearing well at the time I discovered them. 
Not only on the branches were the great pods grow- 
ing, but cUmbing up the trunks, looking like big- 
bellied rats, red and purple in hue. The fruit — the 
seed, from which the chocolate is made — ^is contained 
in a pod from six to nine inches long and three or 
four in diameter, filled with a sweetish pulp, and 
there are sometimes three dozen seeds in a pod. Two 
crops a year are expected from the cultivated cacao, 
and my trees then had the remains of the Christmas 


crop on their limbs, which I quickly gathered and 
bore to my camp. 

The trees were shaggy and filled with dead wood, 
from long neglect, and so I epent several days in 
pruning them, cutting off the small and surplus 
branches in order to throw the sap back into the 

larger ones where the next season's fruit could be 
benefited by it. 

I might not be here to gather that crop, to be 
sure, but it was no more than right that I should in 
some way pay for that I had gathered, and some one 
was sure to come after me. 


Sitting under the shade of my bamboos, I burst 
open the pods until I had at least a barrel of seeds in 
bulk, as yet uneleaned of the adhering pulp and 
fiber. Having seen the process in other islands, I 
knew that I must next allow the seeds to ferment, and 
so I filled my now empty cracker barrel with them 
and set them aside for three days, then turned the 
barrel over and gave them three days more, after 
which they were spread out to dry. 

On the plantations the planters have smooth stone 
floors, called harbacvss^ upon which the cacao is 
spread ; but I merely stretched some canvas, pro- 
tecting them from night dews and rains, and in this 
manner soon had my crop cleaned and dried. This I 
stowed carefully away, and then felt that at least one 
want was in a measure provided for. 

This was not my only discovery, however; it 
seemed that Heaven showered down many blessings 
upon me at that time, perhaps to try me and prove 
whether or no prosperity would ruin me. That 
other discovery was coffee. In the same locality, 
but at, a higher elevation in the hills, I came upon 
a clump of coffee trees, some white with fragrant 
blossoms and others red with fruit. Like the cacao 
trees, these also were sadly in need of pruning, and 
after I had gathered their fruit I cut the most of 
them back severely, taking off their tops at about 
eight feet from the ground. I cut down the wild 
trees that crowded in upon them, thus giving them 
light and air, spread a mulch of leaves about their 
roots, and then left them to flourish alone. 


The coflEee {Coffea Arabicd) is not, like the cacao, 
a native of the West Indies, but was brought here in 
the last century from Africa. Its cultivation was 
almost abandoned in the flourishing period of sugar 
and slavery times, but is now being taken up again 
with profit. The Mocha variety requires an elevation 
above the sea of from one thousand to two thousand 
feet for the best results, but there is a^variety called 
the Liberian which will grow at a lower altitude, and 
in many respects is superior. 

My coflEee was from some old plantation Mocha, 
run wild years ago. This kind grows best in rich, 
deep soil, and likes to nestle in deep crevices among 
the rocks of a hillside, where the warmth and col- 
lected moisture promote its growth. The berries are 
red as a cherry when ripe and must be gathered as 
soon as matured. 

Inside the pulp is the coflEee bean, which must 
be removed by a process called pulping. Machines 
are provided for that purpose on the estates, but 
I removed mine by rolling the berries between 
two boards, as there was but a small quantity, and 
after that I soaked them in water for twenty-four 
hours to ferment and remove the mucilaginous sub- 
stance adhering, and then, spread them out to 

Even then there remained the parchment or hull, 

which I brayed oflE in a rude mortar hollowed out of 

wood, and winnowed in the air. As I had no coflEee 

grinder or mill, I had recourse to a most primitive 

process by putting the coflEee, after it was roasted, 


into a canvas shot bag and pounding it with the head 
of an axe. 

By the time all these processes were performed I 
had a most vivid impression of the difficulties in the 
way of an isolated existence, and realized the ad- 
vantages of cooperation as experienced in civilized 
life in communities. But I did not repine ; far from 
it. I enjoyed as never before my cups of coffee and 
of chocolate, having extracted them from the very 
vitals of earth. It was indeed " theobroma " — nectar 
such Bfi the gods delight in — ^and I thrived on it. 

This much with reference to my beverages — cocoa- 
nut water direct from the tree every morning, coffee 
and chocolate from my private groves, and a stream 
of "Adam's ale" at my very door. 

Tobacco I also found growing wild, as Crusoe did. 
I say growing wild, but it had probably been culti- 
vated here at some former period. This plant was 
discovered by Columbus in the West Indies, and the 
first sent from here to England direct came from the 
near island of Trinidad, probably being sent home or 
carried there by Sir Walter Raleigh in 1585. 

Hence the tobacco is at home in Tobago, and 
Crusoe doubtless did find it growing here if he looked 
about him with attention. He says he did, for " I 
searched for the Cassava Hoot, which the Indians in 
all that Climate make their Bread of, but I could find 
none. I saw large Plants of Aloes, but did not then 
understand them; and I saw several Sugar Canes, 
but wild and for want of cultivation imperfect." 

Perhaps one of my most important finds was the 


cassava {ma/nihot). One day, while hunting along a 
lowland grove, I came to an opening lookmg out to 
the sea, where the land seemed to have been culti- 
vated at some time in the past. This sea valley was 
fertile and sheltered from the gales of the hurricane 
season, and I found here many remains of early culti- 
vation. One tract contained shrubby plants with 
knotty stems six or eight feet high, which I at once 
saw was cassava. Pulling up one of the plants I 
found a large tuber attached to the woody stem, and 
then knew that I was looking upon a plant known to 
the aborigines of these islands before the advent of 
the white man. 

The Indians prepare the cassava by grating the 
tuber and making from it a fine meal which is baked 
into thin cakes. As the bitter cassava is deadly poison 
in a raw state, and the poison is dissipated by heat, 
the meal is heated over a fire before it is stored away 
for use. 

My stock of flour was nearly haK gone at the end 
of the second month, and 1 knew that something 
must be done soon or I should be without bread. 
The cassava would yield a supply of farinaceous food, 
at a pinch, and I held it in reserve for the future. 

Behind my cocoa grove was a small tract of rich 
soil which 1, with infinite labor, dug up with a spade 
and here planted some shoots of the manihot. This 
was done by merely cutting off sections of the stems 
and sticking them in the ground — quite in the old 
and easy aboriginal way, with the least trouble pos- 


If it appear that I seem lazy, I shall offer no de- 
fense, as I have become so and was not bom so. 
The easiest way is always the best, but some people 
are not satisfied with that, and spend their time hunt- 
ing out one more difficult. 

In that same abandoned field I found what gave 
me a thrill of joy at beholding : some stalks of maize, 
or Indian com. like cassava, indigenous to America, 
yet the maize {Zea mays) has had a more general dis- 
semination throughout the world than the other, and 
now supplies the staff of life to millions. Yet at one 
time it was known only to the American Indian, and 
was first discovered by Europeans in these very islands 
of the West Indies. 

I don't think Columbus himself could have experi- 
enced greater satisfaction when Indian Guacanagari 
brought him those golden grains, on the coast of Haiti 
in 1492, than I did at the sight of the majestic maize 
stalks growing in this deserted corner of Tobago. 
There were some large ears on the stalks, but nearly 
divested of grain by the birds ; and, as Crusoe says, 
in narrating his own experience, " I carefully saved 
the Ears of Com, you may be sure, in their Season." 
And then there were the pineapples. Crusoe does 
not mention them, but they were there, probably; 
great, juicy, luscious fruits, with tufts of leaves like 
a cacique's crown. They, too, are American products. 

The season for planting is almost any time, but 
best in the first three months of the year. Begin- 
ning in January, utilizing the spare time from my 
hunts, I worked in the soil night and morning ; and 


it was surprising to see how much I had turned over 
with my spade when February came in. It was hard 
labor in one sense, but sweetened by the conscious- 
ness that every stroke and every spadeful tended 
toward that improvement of my condition which 
should be my highest aim. It could not be called 
menial, for it was deprived of every groveling ele- 
ment by its own dignity, since I was doing it for my- 
self and not for hire. Never, since my birth into a 
world of work, have I consciously enslaved myself ; 
I have always been a free man. And I was free now, 
free to live a life of idleness if I chose — and would 
pay the penalty ! The work was its own reward, 
aside from the ultimate fruition of what I planted 
there, in that little garden under the palms. 

The cassava was set out, the grains of com were 
planted, and on the outskirts of the savanna I sowed 
some wild rice and buried the tubers of a certain 
plant, called the tania. This latter is a pretty plant 
when growing, having large, arrow-shaped leaves, 
and is allied to the famous taro of the Hawaiian 

From the com I expected a harvest in lees than 
three months, and from the others in not less than 
six to eight ; and even then I must use sparingly, in 
order to save enough for another planting. I varied 
my agricultural operations with excursions into the 
forest and along the shore ; and now, having a good 
set of fishing poles made from the bamboos, I caught 
many a fish from the rocks at the mouth of the 


In one of my tramps along the beach beyond the 
northern promontory, one evening, I came upon a 
great turtle dra^fing itself up the sands. Carefully 
watching, I saw it dig a hole in the sand and there 
deposit a number of e^s — about forty, as I soon dis- 
covered. It waa near dark when the turtle had com- 
pleted this labor, and taking advantage of the ob- 

Pinespple pluits. 

Bcurity I stole upon and soon had turned it over on 
the sand, where I left it till the morning. When I 
returned for my prize, however, it had recovered its 
legs and departed. 

This was in contradiction to what I had always 
believed true of the ways of the sea turtle, for I had- 
thought that once on their backs, there they would 


have to remain till turned over again. However, the 
eggs compensated me for my trouble, and I reflected 
that I could easily find another turtle when I wanted 
a steak. " Going down to the seaside," says Crusoe, 
" I found a large Tortoise, or Turtle ; this was the 
first 1 had seen, which it seems was my misfortune, 
not any defect of the Place, or scarcity ; for had I 
happened to be on the other Side of the Island I 
might have had Hundreds of them every Day, as I 
foand afterwards ; but perhaps had paid dear enough 
for them." And this I found to be literally true. 



" My next Work was to view the Country and seek a proper 
Place for my Habitation and where to stow my Goods, to secure 
them from whatever might happen ; there was a Hill not above a 
Mile from me which rose up very steep and high, and which 
seem'd to overtop some other Hills which lay as in a Ridge from 
it northward." — Crusoe. 

I HAD been three months on this island before 1 
owned a home. The camp on the beach, though it 
was a dehghtfiil makeshift, was never regarded by 
me in any sense as a home, for it was built of too 
fragile materials, serving merely as a retreat for the 
night and from the heat of the^^ann. In making the 
discovery of the palra-crowned hill in the forest, I had 
found the site of what I really wanted to establish : a 
home that would serve me as a permanent place of 
residence. Soon after I opened a path through the 
woods, which shortened the distance between that 
place and the camp to less than a mile, and at once 
began cutting the timber for a house. 

It was a fatiguing labor, of course, and I will not 
detail the days of toil and the many schemes I in- 
vented to overcome the difficulties in the way. Suf- 
fice it that by the end of February I had all the ma- 



terial at the hill, and rapidly built my house. The 
lumber was not any too well seasoned, having but a 
month or so for drying, but it answered well enough. 
I used, for the walls of the house and the outside 
covering, strips riven from palm logs, which made it 
look like what it really was, a log hut. It was of one 
story only, but being perched on the summit of the 
hill it was dry and well drained, and even had a cellar 
beneath it. There was a door in the center and two 
windows, the latter protected by shutters, as I had no 
glass. These openings looked out toward the north, 
and, that I might the better enjoy the magnificent view 
outspread in this direction, I built a broad veranda run- 
ning the entire length of the structure. 

Two things I decided to have in this new house 
of mine if I had nothing else : a veranda and a fire- 
place. By people in general these are regarded as 
superfluities, especially the fireplace, which can easily 
be dispensed with in the tropics ; but I knew better. 
I was not building merely for a shelter, but for the 
gratification of my home-loving nature as well, and a 
home without a hearthstone is just no home at all ! 

The temperate zone, which has produced the 
brightest exemplars of intellectual humanity, is in- 
debted to the hearthstone for its highest culture. 
In the tropics man is lost in the immensity of Nature, 
his powers are dissipated, he loses the faculty of con- 
centration. Only within the shelter of walls, shut in 
by the "tumultuous privacy of storm," and by the 
side of the bright hearth fire, have the greatest minds 
produced the greatest works. That may be an opin- 


ion merely, but, at all events, there is a cheer in the 
open fire that nothing else can supply, and I knew 
that there would be long days in the rainy season 
when it would be grateful. 

The construction of the fireplace and chimney was 
more difficult than the building of the house, but 
with sticks and clay and a few flat stones I made 
something that answered my purpose. The whole 
house was only sixteen feet wide by twenty-four 
long, and this was divided into two rooms, that con- 
taining the fireplace being devoted to use as a living 
room and study. 

The new place I called the "Hilltop" and the 
old one the " Seaside," and, having removed to the 
former the bulk of my belongings, 1 set about im- 
proving the situation in earnest. On the slopes of 
the hill I planted a great many arrowroot slips ; for 
this plant, which is a native of tropical America, grows 
readily in the rich soil of a hillside, such as I had 
here. Not only did I have to consider the soil and 
situation in undertaking this cultivation, but the con- 
tiguity of a stream of running water, which would be 
essential in the gathering of the crop and the prepa- 
ration of the starch. That was a contingency remote, 
a year or so hence ; but, although I knew the odds 
might be against my reaping the benefit of this labor, 
yet I was willing to take the risk. 

The hillslopes were also best for the cassava, many 
cuttings of which I transplanted here, and eventually 
had a broad strip of cultivated land stretching down 
from my door to the pond. Around the house I set 


out such vines and flowering plants as I thought might 
grow well here, and such as the woods yielded me ; 
but they were not many, and I would have given half 
my cassava crop for a good old-fashioned flower gar- 
den, filled with phlox, hollyhocks, balm, and fragrant 
herbs, such as I wot of somewhere. 

In my search for flowering plants I found, in the 
deserted plantation, a vine with flowers like those of 
the morning-glory, but which proved of vastly more 
importance, being nothing less than the sweet potato. 
This, like the arrowroot, is native to tropical America, 
and was carried to Europe even before the ordinary 
potato. The Indians knew it as the batata^ and its 
scientific name {Ipoma&a hatata) indicates its origin 
and the family to which the plant belongs. I was 
much rejoiced at obtaining cuttings of this valuable 
vine, and set out as many as I could, near the 

After I had become domiciled, and the aspect of 
newness had given place to an air of permanency, I 
had many visitors at the house, chiefly with feathers 
on them. My dear old mocking bird seemed to miss 
me very much at the beach, and I did the best I 
could to induce him to move to my new abode ; but 
it was a long time before he could be made to under- 
stand where I had gone. Birds are more restricted, 
as to their flights and habitat, than is generally be- 
lieved. Such as the mocking bird prefer short flights 
and a narrow hunting range, to wandering over large 
spaces. The mile that separated my two houses was 
Sufficient to give me an entirely new class of birds, 


and the residents of one region rarely trespassed upon 
the preserves of another. 

One morning, however, I heard a flood of song 
being poured forth from the rooftree of my new 
house, and before I had gone into the outer air I 
knew that Mimus had come to visit me. He had 
brought his mate along, too, and when I appeared he 
welcomed me gleefully. I had some food for him, 
of course, and when he had eaten of it he entered the 
doorway and began an examination of my domicile, 
nodding his dainty head in evident approval. Then 
he retired to the roof again and sang a benediction, 
after which he and Mrs. Mimus flew away to the 
seaside, where their domestic engagements were too 
pressing for them to be absent long at a time. After 
the young had flown they made me longer and more 
frequent visits, and finally settled near me, though 
giving up with evident reluctance their residence at 
the beach. 

I had not been in my new place a week when a 
flycatcher, one of the birds allied to what we call in 
the North the " pewee," took up her abode under the 
thatch of my roof. Under the eaves she and her 
mate built a pretty nest, knowing well enough that 
they were safe from harm. They were quiet and 
unobtrusive, but I got a deal of comfort from their 
company ; for, while the female sat on the eggs she 
laid, the male came out in search of mosquitoes and 
small insects, flying about me, and frequently sitting 
on the rafters of the room for hours. 

On the border of the woods I found the most 


curious specimen of the flycatcher family extant. He 
was a quaint little chap, only four inches in length, 
but with a bill over half an inch wide and neariy 
three quarters of an inch long. He is known as the 
" spoonbill," or the duckbill flycatcher, from having 
this odd, spatulate protuberance. The general desig- 
nation in Latin of the flycatchers, the generic name, 
is Musicapa {musca^ a fly, eapioy to take), but this 
little pug-nose is called the Todus j}laty?yn€hics, from 
the Greek, meaning that he has a broad snout. 

"During this Time," says Crusoe, "I made my 
Bounds in the Woods for Game every Day, when 
the Rain permitted me, and made frequent Discov- 
eries in these Walks of Something or other to my 

One never walks abroad in the woods without 
making discoveries of importance, if he keep his eyes 
about him. In one of my rambles I made an im- 
portant addition to my stock of useful articles by the 
find of the soapberry tree. And I was nearly out of 
soap, too, at this time, so that the " find " was oppor- 

The "soapberry," or "soap seed," grows on a 
tree some forty feet high, which is in bearing sev- 
eral months in the year. The seed is black, inclosed 
within a yellow skin, and is about as large as a com- 
mon marble. The Creoles use the skin, which is 
viscid, as a detergent, in lieu of soap, and it is often 
used to wash clothes with. The seeds, after they are 
cleaned, are worn as beads by the children. Another 
thing used for removing dirt is the leaf of the " soap 


vine," which is quite common, and is applied with 
corncobs, cocoanut husks, etc. 

I could now save the little soap I had left for 
toilet purposes, and clean my clothes with the soap- 
berry, which I found growing in abundance near the 
pond, after I had made its acquaintance. 

In a tall tree near the house a ruby humming bird 
made her nest, and I had an opportunity for watching 
the whole process of nest-building. She was flying 
continually from tree to tree, gathering cobwebs, after 
the core of the nest was made, and plastering them 
on with her bill, sitting inside and dropping the bill 
over the side, rubbing it around swiftly and delicately, 
firmly attaching the cobwebs and lichens. 

One cloudy morning, when the leaves of the trees 
were a quiver noiselessly, and the birds hushed and 
subdued as if in expectation of some disaster — ^for 
the signs all indicated a big storm coming — I was at- 
tracted by the actions of a brown humming bird. I 
was standing under a large sapote tree, by the side of 
the stream where I usually crossed it, and in front of 
me dashed a big brown " hummer." After hovering 
a few seconds above a large flat stone, it suddenly 
dropped and touched its beak to it, then, rising in the 
air a foot or so, it darted out its tongue for more 
than an inch of its length, apparently drawing in 
what had gathered on its beak. This performance 
was repeated several times, until, being curious to 
find the cause for these actions, I examined the stone, 
and found on it some pulverized lime, which I had 
dropped when coming up from the beach. When 


I made my chimney I burned lime, as well as I 
could, from the coral and shells on the beach, and 
this I transported with difficulty to the hill, dropping 
much of it by the way. And it was to get a taste of 
this lime, doubtless, that the humming bird whetted 
its slender beak on the flat stone. 

I found the nest of this " hummer " attached to 
the under side of a small palm leaf, daintily con- 
structed of cobwebs and lichens, and affixed like the 
nest of a swallow. The leaf bent above and con- 
cealed it, so I should never have found it had not 
the bird himself betrayed its whereabouts. This 
species and the emerald variety are very brave, even 
to rashness, darting at any intruder, man or beast, 
with a " whoof , whoof " of the wings that is startling, 
when heard in the stillness of the deep forest. 

Thus my time was passed in noting the move- 
ments of my neighbors, in cultivating my grounds, 
and adding to my store of information regarding the 
fauna and the economic flora of my island. Almost 
before I was aware of it three months had flown, and 
I was as much at home as though I had lived here all 
my life. 




A flood of bird music — The razor grinder's song — Birds with ven- 
triloquial calls — A plunge into a pool — The screen of flow- 
ers — Evolutions in midair — Whitethroats and saber wings. 

A PERFECT flood of soHg greeted me one morning 
about mid- April, seemingly poured forth from a 
thousand throats: of finches, sparrows, blackbirds, 
bluebirds, thrushes, and many more. This hosanna 
was a welcome to the rain which, as in the North, 
distinguishes the month of April from the other 
months. The first scattered drops had fallen, but the 
season of heavy rains did not begin before the month 
of June. 

I arose before the deep shadows of night had 

been fairly dissipated ; stars gleamed out of the sky 

and were reflected in the still sea ; the hush of early 

dawn was upon everything ; but before I had finished 

my bath in the pond there burst forth a chorus of 

sounds. The wren, the little " God bird," who, like 

the pewee, had taken up his abode beneath my roof, 

was the first to break the stillness, then the mocking 

bird, followed by the flycatchers. The " mocker " 

took upon himself the office of master of ceremonies ; 



from a tall palm stub near the house he poured out 
his heart. My hill was the grand stand, my little 
family the chief performers — at least the first — and 
auditors in the surrounding forest took up the 

From the valleys beneath arose an outcry as 
though a whole barnyard of fowls had broken out at 
once ; these were the " cockerricos " who rent the air 
with harsh screams of " cokriko, cokriko, cokriko ! " A 
shy and wary bird is the cokriko, and you may rest 
assured that, however noisy he may be, his every 
sense is on the alert. Many a time and oft, I stalked 
him vainly before he became my capture. 

Up from the trees around came a loud, shrill 
whistle, prolonged and deafening, like a steam whistle 
in sound and intensity. This was from the cicada, 
and its continuous shrilling presages the near ap- 
proach of the rainy season. When first 1 heard it I 
truly thought a locomotive was tearing through the 
forest, and leaped from my tracks in great alarm. 
These cicadse are quite large, and I have seen them 
many times clinging to the bark of a cashew tree. I 
have only heard the sound in the spring and early 
summer, from April to August, and it is probably a 
love call, as I have seen a cicada alone on a bare tree 
trunk calling nervously, and looking later, when the 
cry had ceased, found a second one in close company. 
The loud shrilhng seems to issue from the thoracic 
region, and may be made by the insect rubbing the 
wings together, as at that time the wings seem to be 
but a filmy mist. Not alone in the morning, but at 


noon when the day is hottest, as well as at evening 
time, do they raise the most deafening din. 

But, not to dally too long, this bright morning, 
with the " razor grinder," as the black people call 
him, we must swallow our coffee and away. As I go 
down the hill I see some swift-flying birds approach- 
ing, many pairs of them, but all in couples. They 
wing their way with rapid beatings of the air, for 
their bodies are robust, their wings are short. They 
are the large green parrots, and are going off for a 
hasty meal in the "provision grounds," before the 
owners are out and before they begin their regular 
all-day foraging on their own " feeding trees " in the 
forest. In an hour or so they will come back again, 
having learned by bitter experience that it isn't safe 
to stray far from the woods long after the sun has 

They were all screaming to each other, " Quite 
right, quite right! " not knowing at all the significance 
of the words they uttered ; but one of them startled 
me by adding, " Quite right, ha-ha, quite right ! " It 
was Polly Psittacus, and lucky for him he cried out 
as he did, for I had my gun up, ready to drop him as 
he flew by, thinking, of course, he was one of the 
wild ones. And a wild one he was, having returned 
to his old ways of feeding and living ; but he never 
forgot me, and a few days later he and Mrs. Psittacus 
paid me a visit. 

Having got rid of their first crop of young, or 
rather having given them a start in life by pushing 
them out of their nest, they now had leisure for visit- 


ing. They liked my house so well that they stayed 
several days on the first visit, during which they in- 
spected the group of palms around the house, and 
finding there one with a hole in it to their liking, took 
up their abode without further ado. I am going to 
relate their doings in due course, and shall be obliged 
to tell what a bad reputation Psittacus had before he 
came under the civilizing influence of my household. 
It all came out, as they say bad doings always do, and 
in a most curious manner. 

But again I must beg pardon for delaying my trip 
to the woods. By the time I enter the shade the sun 
is shooting his first beams over the mountain ridge. 
He is a good marksman and accurate, but the first 
rays are spent in ethereal space, shot over the heads 
of mortals on this orb terrestrial and above the tree- 
tops even of the somber forest. As if suspecting 
that his ammunition may be wasted, old Sol pops up 
out of the water to see for himself, with rosy, beam- 
ing face, red hot from his exertions since I saw him 
last. Heralds of his coming were not wanting in 
roseate flushes of the cloudlets along the horizon, 
deepening rapidly into crimson blushes and beauty 
spots. I had watched Sol as he dropped beneath 
the western sea the night before, and could have 
sworn that he winked at me wickedly, shooting out a 
parting gleam, as much as to say, " I'll see you to- 
morrow, my dear." Now he was up again, after his 
journey half around the world, and the manner in 
which he shot his darts at me, whenever an opening 
occurred in the bushes, fully justified me in the sur- 



mise of the previous evening. Soon I was bathed in 
perspiration, and had not a dry thread on me, not- 
withstanding the shade at intervals. 

A mile of this brought me to a deep ravine, and 
then I scrambled along the dry bed of what in the 
summer was a roaring river, till I came out at the 
bottom of a valley between two steep hills, where a 
tiny rivulet trickled, and where the tall trees met in 
a canopy overhead and effectually screened me from 
the sun. 

The murmur of the stream was soothing, the sigh- 
ing of the breeze in the treetops was quieting, and 
the coolness of this secluded vale refreshing. Great 
milkwood trees towered aloft, but the palmistes held 
their heads even higher, while ferns and luxuriant, 
lush-leaved wild pines cast a shade dense enough for 
protection. A flock of parrots was screaming in the 
milkwood tree, but I would not shoot at them, for 
fear I might wound or kill my own Psittacus. A 
saber- wing humming bird flew by, poised himself an 
instant on buzzing wings, and then departed with a 
whiz and a whirr. But he had delayed his departure 
too long, for at the report of my gun he fell into the 

By the rivulet-side I took a humming bird's nest 
from the pendent leaf of a palm fringed with sharp 
spines. This was the nest of the sicklebill hummer, 
sometimes called the " Doctor," which often affixes 
its nest to the under side of a " balisier " leaf, where 
it has complete shelter from the sun and rain. 

Meanwhile I was whistling for trogons at inter- 


vals, and was at last rewarded by a distant call. 
Throwing into my voice all the seductiveness possible, 
I succeeded in attracting a trogon to the valley ; but 
it was some time 
before I discov- 
ered it, ae the 
notes of tbe tro- 
gon are in a meas- 
ure ventriloquial, 
in common with 
the voices of many 
other birds. It 
has the quality of 
seeming afar off w 
quite near, and wh 
looking for the bi 
sitting qoietly over 
replying to my ever; 
I did not want 
the bird, only to ei 
sombemess of the 
httle color, and so '. 
again until there w< 
many trogona about r 
seeing that I would 

no harm, lingered among the '"''''''^'"nd™^'°^ ^'^ 
tree ferns, and kept nie com- 
pany all the day. While watehing the birds that came 
in response to my calls, and walking slowly along the 
edge of the stream, I got a bad fall, my attention be- 
ing fixed upon the treetops instead of the earth. 


The rocks were slippery and over I went, sliding 
down a long cascade, and plunging through a screen 
of vines into a small but deep pool, where I was com- 
pletely submerged. The fall was a severe one, and 
when I had got out on the rocks again I found 
my wrist badly sprained and rapidly turning black, 
from a blow received while trying to hold my gun 
out of the water in the descent. Gun and cartridges 
were soon spread out to dry ; with great difficulty I 
divested myself of my clothing, and then sat down to 
rest, in the condition that is supposed to have been 
that of Adam in the garden of Eden. 

The heat had increased, notwithstanding the 
shade, and so, as the pool had been shown large 
enough to wet me thoroughly, I got into it again and 
lay along the shelving rock under the water. As I 
lay there, in great pain from my swollen wrist, but 
not insensible to the soothing silence of the place, I 
was startled by an abrupt whirr of wings quite near 
my head. I was lying in a httle glen, beneath the 
tiny stream, which trickled over the rock above and 
fell some fifteen feet into the pool. By standing up 
I took a shower bath, making a spray by extending 
my hand and allowing the water to fall through the 
opened fingers. 

Above the pool grew a large tree, wreathed to its 
topmost branches by a stout vine which was itself 
clothed in brilliant yellow flowers. Vine and flow- 
ers covered the trunk, running along the branches 
and hanging in festoons from the drooping head of 
the tree, descending to the rocks, and forming a 


screen that liid the spot from outside observation. 
From that yellow drapery about my couch emanated 
a subtle fragrance, perfuming the air for hundreds 
of yards around. Bees buzzed about it, multitudes 
of insects hovered in front of it ; but, more than this, 
scores of humming birds played around and behind 
it, darting like lightning through the yellow flowers 
and the misty veil of the waterfall. 

In the woods everywhere at this season one's 
senses are delighted with beautiful sights, and above 
all with delicious odors. Looking in any direction, I 
could see the brilliant yellow masses of the cog wood 
and green heart, trees large as maples, mere masses of 
golden bloom. Many another tree was in blossom, 
the buds were springing, and every sense assured me 
that it was as surely springtime here as it was then 
in New England. 

I heard the whirr of wings, and saw, dancing 
above the still waters, with seemingly aimless intent, 
a whitethroat humming bird. It was first above my 
pool, then under the spray of the fall, occasionally 
dipping into the water, but never once alighting. It 
may have been seeking food, while thus indulging in 
fantastic flight ; but this strange dance it always per- 
forms in somber places, chiefly in the morning and 
evening twihght. 

Never were evolutions more eccentric or delight- 
ful : down it dropped from the gloom of vine-hung 
tree, halted an instant on suspended wing, dashed 
sidewise, fell, rose again, dipped its beak, while still 
on fluttering vrings, into the water, then suddenly 


darted off, so rapidly that the eye could hardly follow 
it, to resume its capers in another place. 

The first one I ever shot was when, as now, I was 
bathing in a shady pool. A whitethroat came beat- 
ing about the stream, its broad tail of pure white and 
the white crescent at its throat contrasting beautifully 
with the blue and glossy green of its body. At the 
report of my gun (which was loaded with a pinch of 
powder and a little dust-shot) a troubling of the sur- 
face of the stream, such as the falling of a leaf would 
have caused, told me that my aim had been true, and 
I hastily ran to secure it, all naked as I was. 

So many " hummers " fluttering about could not 
long remain without a quarrel, for these little sprites 
are pugnacious rascals, brave to rashness. Suddenly 
two of them penetrated the screen of flowers and en- 
gaged before my face in mimic battle, chirping and 
beating their wings in fury. In a twinkling one 
dropped to the surface of the pool, fluttering down 
like a feathery snowflake ; but no sooner touched the 
water than it darted upward and flew into the forest, 
its antagonist remaining dancing in mid-air, like the 
f aiiy that he was. 

This humming bird is just a little over five inches 
in length, and another species, found more in open 
woods and fields, called the rnby, is half an inch 
shorter. This latter species has a brilliant ruby crest, 
and glows all over like a coal of fire. A naturalist, 
who made these birds a subject of study, says that he 
once found in the stomach of one of them more 
than a hundred ants, showing conclusively that their 


food is insectivorous, though they doubtless do in- 
dulge in honey and sweets from the flowers. This 
observer also surrounded a humming bird's nest with 
gauze, just before the young were ready to fly, and 
for three weeks the mother bird came and fed them, 
betraying the utmost solicitude if any one approached, 
and driving oif other birds, with angry chirps and 
violent actions. 

Eight species of humming bird have been found 
in Tobago : the " Doctor " or the sicklebill, which has 
a curved beak, and builds a pensile nest, beneath a 
bending leaf, I have already described ; the saber- 
wing, a very peculiar species ; the whitethroat, one of 
the little dancers of the forest ; the ruby-crested, the 
most brilliant of them all, and which has been nearly 
exterminated by the bird-hunters ; the emerald, which 
is very small ; and three others not so numerous. As 
a bird peculiar to the New World, and never found 
in any other part of the globe, the humming bird pos- 
sesses a special value to Americans, taking the place 
in this hemisphere that the sunbirds fill in the other.* 

* I would call attention to the fact, in this connection, that 
while six species of humming bird have been found in Tobago, 
three have been discovered in Juan Fernandez, one of which has 
been named the Trochilua Femandensis. 



How to catch birds in the deep woods— Calls used by the Caribs — 
A peculiar courtship— The rivals dancing in air. 

When in the deep forests of tlie tropics, where 
the trees are tall, the foliage dense, the undergrowth 
a perfect snarl of spiny, thorny vines and bush ropes, 
it is next to impossible to secure a bird even after 
you have shot it and " marked " it down to a cer- 

In the first place, you must find your prospective 
prey, and this is no small matter ; you may hear the 
chattering of parrots, the songs of thrushes, the 
"squeaking" of humming birds; but while all may 
be quite near you, yet they are hidden beyond masses 
of leaves and vines. The best way to obtain them is 
to seek a good spot, make yourself as comfortable as 
possible, then await their arrival. Even then you 
must not depend wholly upon your unaided powers 
of sight, but must use all your arts of allurement. 

Birds are curious, though shy and cautious. 

While they would fly from you in aflEright, should 

they see you coming through the woods, they may be 

caught by stratagem quite easily. 



Assuming that it is necessary to secure a bird, the 
best way, as I said, is to make it come to you, and not 
go blundering about the woods, barking your shins 
against rocks and trees. You can call them to you, 
as the Carib Indians taught me, by various imitations 
of their cries. Their curiosity will prompt them to 
investigate any strange noise in their quiet retreats, 
and they will come flying toward you precipitately, 
if you keep yourself well concealed. 

Imitate the cry of a bird in distress, and a dozen 
of his or her relatives will come flying to the rescue. 
Squeak as though a young bird were trying its first 
flights, and a lot of troubled mother birds will drive 
straight for the object of their solicitude. More at- 
tractive than any other call is that imitating a pair of 
birds engaged in a fight. Nearly all birds love a 
scrimmage, and take as much interest in it as any 
small boy does in a dog fight. They hurry forward 
with responsive cries, and nearly tumble over them- 
selves in their efforts to be first at the scene of the 

. By means of these cries I surrounded myself with 
flitting forms, which kept me company throughout 
the day. 

Like flashing gems, like meteors astray, the merry 
humming birds darted athwart the glen, illumining 
its darkest nooks. I could have lain there in my 
bathing pool for hours and hours, listening to the 
falling water and watching the eccentric flights of the 
birds. But soon my clothes were dry, there was no 
longer excuse for lingering, and I went a little way 


into the woods. As I was sitting on a mossy rock 
eating my luncheon I heard a shrill whistle, a whistle 
with a twang in it like the whiz of a bowstring or 
the nasal note of an untraveled American. It was so 
near, apparently, and came from the stillness of the 
woods so abruptly, that I started. It was repeated — 
" Whew^ whit ! " — ^and searching carefully, I discov- 
ered its author perched upon a horizontal limb quietly 
regarding me, holding his head on this side and then 
on that, evidently awaiting a response. 

Nor was he disappointed ; another whistle, pre- 
cisely like the first, announced the approach of an- 
other bird. This one alighted on the same branch, 
and then ensued the joUiest dance that it has been my 
good fortune ever to witness. Seated on the same 
branch, apparently as loving as a pair of love birds, 
they began to whistle to each other, bobbing their 
heads in a way that excited my laughter, and as if 
to say, " After you, if you please," sidling away and 
approaching, whistling merrily all the while. 

Their whistle now was not so shrill, but mellow 
and plaintive; and I soon saw the cause of it all, 
when another bird flew out of the shrubbery adjacent 
and alighted near. This one was clad in sober colors, 
olive green predominating, and was doubtless a 
female, the others being males and her admirers. 
As I afterward learned, this bird was known as the 
"manakin" {Pipra pa/reold). The male has a scarlet 
silken crest of triangular shape, which, as contrasted 
with his blue back, gives him a strikingly handsome 
and smart appearance. The female is very plain, but 


evidently nnderetands the art of fascinating, for, 

while her mate is much the handsomer of the two, he 

proves himself a most assiduous lover, and is by no 

means vain of his 

Dancing manakiua. 

where they alighted, and the gallants began a lively 
duet. I have seen many strange performances in 
bird life, but never before one like this. I was a 
spectator and full in sight, but they were so intent 
upon their love-making that they regarded me not at 
all. Sitting a little apart from her lovers, the little 
coquette demnrely held her head on one side, preened 
her feathers occasionally, snd pretended to take not 
the slightest interest in the play that was performed 
for her exclusive benefit. But the performers did 


not seem to take that as a slight, for thej threw their 
whole hearts into the acting. 

First one of them jumped up uito the air some 
two feet, followed by the other as he came down, 
and thus they continued for several minutes, passing 
and repassing each other in the air, and uttering the 
queerest of notes, like " Craw^ craw^ croAJO-croAJO^'^ 
which sounded like the cawing of distant crows. 
They did not fly into the air, but seemed to leap, 
each with head lowered, shoulders elevated, and tdl 
depressed, reminding me of those pictures on rice 
paper of Chinese officials obsequiously approaching a 

This funny dance they kept up until both were 
tired, and stopped to gain breath, when they hopped 
up and went at it again. 

Just what their reward was to be from that de- 
mure little wretch who sat observant alongside, the 
apparent object of their attentions, I am unable to 
say, for certainly no caresses were then obtained from 
the female, and they did not offer any advances. 

A third male came upon the scene while the dance 
was at its height, though he never offered to interfere, 
but sat gravely by, and may have come in the charac- 
ter of judge, or umpire. It seemed so absurd to me 
that birds so much the superior of this female in point 
of attractiveness should exert themselves so much to 
win her favor ! If the same rule prevailed in human 
life there is no maid, no matter how plain, who would 
not some time find her intended spouse. 

That a fellow all decked out in blue and scarlet 


should put himself into awkward and uncouth atti- 
tudes all to win the regard of an obscure maiden in 
bottle green, seemed to me preposterous, to say the 
least. But these little fellows don't know their ad- 
vantage and superior attractions. So anxious are they 
to get together and try a tilt that, should you hear the 
whistle of one in the woods, you have but to answer 
it in kind, and the manakin will fly precipitately to- 
ward you. Many have thus been lured to death, by 
those who cared more for their feathers than their 
antics. This little bird is about five inches long ; it 
completes its courting and builds its nest in May, and 
may be found about the milkwood and the parrot- 
apple trees. 

The manakins and other birds beguUed the time 
so charmingly that the day had gone before I knew 
it, and I found my way home by moonlight. The 
moon was climbing a vault clear and unclouded, but 
the ravines and masses of trees were in deepest 




The charms of solitude — Millions of frogs — Scissorstails and swal- 
lowtails — ^God-birds and goatsuckers — Monarch of all I sur- 
veyed — The wrens and the whip suake— Crusoe and I agree. 

I WAS awakened, one morning, by the falling of 
rain, which came down in a sudden torrent, thus an- 
nouncing the real opening of the rainy season, about 
the last of May. The temperature quickly changed 
with the weather, the hot dry days giving place to cool 
damp ones. Bain fell all the forenoon, the country 
was veiled in mist; the stream which yesterday 1 
could have leaped across was now swollen to a raging 
torrent, and beyond the beach carried its turbulent 
flood far out into the bay, in huge corrugated billows, 
which tinged the sea the color of yellow earth for miles 

There was no going out of doors that morning, so 
I lighted a fire of fragrant gum-wood (more for its 
company and incense than for warmth) and prepared 
for a day with my books. At noon, however, the rain 
held up as suddenly as it had arrived, and the forests 
were so sweet and fresh, the singing of birds so in- 
viting, that I went forth in quest of what I might find 
that was new. 



The floods of rain seemed to have started floods of 
music out of the throats of the birds, for all were sing- 
ing, all were giving thanks for the coolness and the 
verdure. The effect upon the vegetation was magical, 
and in a few days a most wonderful garb of green 
crept over the face of Nature. Fruits of all kinds as 
well as leaves took a start, such as mangos, sapadillos, 
cashew apples, and Jamaica plums, which made im- 
mense development. 

One immediate effect of the rain was a crop of 
mosquitoes which I had not noticed before, and the 
frogs, hitherto silent, were now croaking, chattering, 
whistling, in every gully and ravine. 

These frogs make a great variety of sounds ; for 
several nights I was kept awake by the cries of some 
animal I could not discover, and, though I searched 
frantically for it, not until my patience was nearly ex- 
hausted did I discover that it was a frog, rods away, 
its shrill, penetrative, yet plaintive notes seeming close 
to my door. 

The rains awakened all the frogs in creation, it 
seemed to me, and they all united in giving intermit- 
tent concerts, chiefly nocturnal ; and, judging from 
the din and confusion, they were indulging in orgies 
deep and tremendous, letting off the accumulated en- 
ergies of the long months of dry weather in a grand 
explosive outburst. There were frogs that whistled, 
plaintively and shrilly ; frogs that yelled in demoniac 
frenzy, " Wow^ wow^ wow^ wow ! " singly and in chorus ; 
and frogs that ejaculated with precision, every two 
minutes, " Whomg^ wang^ wcmg ! " like the twanging of 


& bowBtrJDg. Sucb a hideoos cboroB, and all evoked 
by the faUing of a few showers I 

The advent of the rainy season was the dgnal for 
the appearance of a-host of new and strange birds, in 
pnrsuit of the insects evoked by the showers. The 
inost noticeable of these was seen by me the first morn- 
ing after the rain had fallen — a peculiar bird over 
fourteen inches in length, but nine inches of this 
length was tail. And this tail was deeply cleft, spread 
apart like a pair of scissors. Indeed, it was a true 
" scissors tail," the swallowtail flycatcher. 

SciBBorataiis. females by several days. A 

noteworthy example of this 

habit may be recalled in the advent of the bobolink, 

in New England, the males of that species always 

arriving at their Northern breeding grounds ahead of 


the f emalps. This may be to spy out the land and 
prepare a reception for the females ; but at all events 
there they are, flooding the meadows with melody, 
sometimes a week in advance of their partners. How 
they come, or whence they come, nobody knows ; but 
you wake up some fine morning in May, and your 
senses are tingled by the tinkling of the first bobolink. 

The scissorstails do not sing, but confine their 
energies to ridding the lowlands of flies and mosqui- 
toes. During the heat of the day they were unseen, 
but always appeared just half an hour before sunset, 
alighting upon a wild tamarind tree and thence mak- 
ing aerial forays upon the iisects. This was only 
at evening time ; at early morning I might find them 
in open glades of the woods for an hour or so after 
daylight, then they would disappear. Their feeding 
time seemed to be toward sunset, as in the morning 
they were hovering over the shrubs and grasses of 
the glades, seemingly with aimless fiight. 

Of the many birds that clear the air of noxious in- 
sects, these flycatchers and the night hawks are the 
most efficacious, in a quiet, unobtrusive way. In por- 
tions of the United States the night hawk is known as 
the " bull bat," from its rapid circling in the air and 
from the roaring noise it makes with its wings, in swift 
descent. This, the most inoffensive of birds, is well 
known throughout the West Indies as the " jumby 
bird," or the "jomby" — bird of ill omen — because 
of its soft flight, ghostlike wanderings, and nocturnal 
habits. It is rarely abroad by day, though I once shot 
one at dusk. It is the most maligned of birds, and 


even its Latin name, Capri/mulgus^ bears out .the popu- 
lar tradition — in Europe, at least — that it surrepti- 
tiously deprives the goats of their milk, that being the 
literal rendering of " goatsucker," a name by which 
it is sometimes called in America. It probably ob- 
tained that appellation from its habit of flying about 
and close to cattle and goats in search of the insects 
near and preying upon them. A more applicable 
name is that bestowed by the older ornithologists, of 
" night swallow," as, indeed, it is the swallow of the 
night, pursuing and destroying the nocturnal insects, 
and in its flight somewhat resembling the swallows, 
sailing gracefully through the air; though not so 
swiftly as they. 

All the flycatchers are of shy and retiring -habits, 
never courting observation, and a whole family might 
live within a stone's throw of your dwelling and you 
never be the wiser for their presence. Of several 
new species I discovered in the West Indies, two or 
three were of this family ; one of them was called by 
the natives the "sunset bird," because of its cry, 
which, they said, was the French patois for sunset, 
soleU coucJier.* 

Their nests are sometimes as curious as the birds 
themselves, one of the TyrannidcB discovered contain- 
ing skeins of cotton of various colors, locks of hair, 

* This bird was named, in honor of its discoverer, the Myiar- 
ehu8 Oberi, by the ornithologists of the Smithsonian Institution. 
All the birds described in this book, as well as many others sent 
to the Smithsonian Institution by the author, may be found in its 
collections and catalogued in its Reports. 


and the cast-ofE skin of the whipsnake, woven into 
the border as an ornament. 

An accession to my family at the coming of the 
rains was the wren, the smallest of my tenants, yet 
the noisiest and most sprightly. This little songster 
is known as the " God bird " by the negroes, but is 
what we call the house wren. It builds in the houses 
of man as well as in the deep woods, and is equally at 
home in town and forest. Though the most diminu- 
tive of birds, yet it is brave and even pugnacious. 

An old observer of the actions of birds once told 
me a story in illustration of its courage and tenacity 
of purpose. One day, he said, his attention was called 
to the more than usual vociferations of a pair of these 
birds that had their nest in his house, on a sugar 
plantation. On looking out he saw a whipsnake, 
about four feet long, seeking to hide himself under a 
tuft of grass from the assaults of the wrens. Going 
to their assistance, he drew the snake out, when they 
were upon it at once, striking it right and left, upon 
the head and tail alternately, as opportunity offered, 
obliging it to take refuge wherever it could. 

They seemed to pay no attention to the presence 
of the planter, but continued to strike at it when 
within a few feet of his hand ; and after they had 
dispatched it they retired to a near fence and poured 
out their triumph in an ecstasy of song. 

The wren is noted for its cleanly habits, removing 
from its nest all refuse after each brood is reared. 
No sooner is the nest cleared of one litter than incu- 
bation begins again, four eggs being laid at each sit- 


tiog. Its food is mainly insects, and it particularly 
delights in the pursuit of such venomous things as 
the scorpion, upon which it darts with rapidity, sepa- 
rates its tail from the body, Emd then takes both por- 
tions to its young. 

Combat between Wrens and Wbipanako. 

When this little bird came to take up his quarters 
with me I knew that I had a tenant for life, for he 
has been known to reside in a house during the life 
of its oldest inmate. He was welcome, not only lie- 
cause he and his sprightly mate kept the honse rid 
of poisonous insects, but for his song and his cheer- 
ful company. During those long days of rain, when 
I was held within the house, sitting by my fragrant 
fire, my diminutive companions sat with me, perched 


upon my cliair-back or on the table, treating me to 
frequent bursts of song ; and their attitude of trustful 
friendliness was most touching. They viewed with 
mistrust the frequent intrusion of the mocking birds, 
and the parrots they positively hated, scolding them 
with ardor, but always keeping out of their way. 

In this time of rain, as Crusoe says, "I found 
much Employment, and very suitable also to the 
Time, for I found occasion for many Things which 
I had no way to furnish myself with but by hard 
Labor and constant Application." 

Having brought with me a goodly supply of cook- 
ing utensils and tools, I was not put to the shifts he 
was, but I felt the need of several things, when I came 
to gather in the harvest of com — such, especially, as a 
mill for grinding the grain. My flour and biscuit I 
had used sparingly, eking them out with the many 
things the forest afforded and the wild grains and 
fruits ; but by the end of May I could see the bottoms 
of the barrels. 

My friends had not returned at the end of a month, 
as they had agreed to, probably having thought the 
better of it. And indeed I saw no necessity for their 
80 doing, as there was no danger of my starving, my 
exile being voluntary and my isolation of my own 
seeking. In truth, I felt so satisfied with my mode 
of life, and fitted so snugly into my environment, 
that I should have resented any intrusion. 

1 was, as the great poet has said of Crusoe, mon- 
arch of all I surveyed — at least, until some one came 
to dispute my claim. That was my only fear : not. 


that I should suffer the evils of solitude, but that an 
intruder might seek to share it with me. It was the 
ideal existence which I had hoped and prayed for all 
the life of my youth; in my early manhood I was 
permitted to realize it, and I did indeed find it equal 
to my expectations. 

Thus my days passed pleasantly. In the morning 
the twittering of my wrens awoke me ; the songs of 
my mocking birds were my matins ; the greetings of 
my parrots saluted me when I returned weary from 
the hunt ; and a boundless prospect of forest and sea 
lay before me when, at evening time, I smoked the 
pipe of perfect peace on my veranda. 

Truly I was content, and my only trouble was 
that others, one-time friends I wot of, could not share 
this soHtude and this happiness. Thinking of them, I 
would sometimes breathe a sigh, and gaze abstractedly 
out over the forest and sea for hours, until the trade 
winds blew strongly and darkness shut out the pros- 
pect from my sight. At that time, if at all, did doubts 
assail me, and my fancies group themselves about the 
north star, on the horizon, crouched above the sea. 

Darkness and solitude are provocative of reflec- 
tion, and when we grope in the dark chambers of the 
past it is the sad spirit that seizes us 1 Yes, the gray 
ghost found me now and then, as it found the lonely 
Crusoe ; but, like him, " I gave hearty Thanks, that 
God had been pleased to discover to me, even that it 
was possible I might be more happy in this solitary 
Condition than I should have been in Society, and in 
all the Pleasures of the World." 



Cocba palms, grugus, and palmistes — What a virgin forest is 
like — Green heart and purple heart — Mastic and silk cotton — 
The tree Crusoe made his canoe of — Bamboos and logwood. 

The distinguishing characteristic of the tropical 
forest is the diversity of its vegetation, as contrasted 
with a body of equal area in the temperate regions. 
Then, again, it is always abloom, with blossoms of 
orchids and creepers, vines and sky-scraping trees. 
The flora of Tobago, like its fanna, is continental, 
instead of insular, for it belongs of right to South 
America, from which continent it was once separated, 
ages agone. 

Lying within sight of the island of Trinidad, from 
which the continent can be dimly seen, it has the 
same floral and f aunal peculiarities, so that we may 
study the tropical vegetation here without becoming 
lost in the vastness of great continental forests. Half 
of its area of one hundred and twenty square miles is 
still a virgin wilderness, and in beauty it is unsurpassed. 
There are, says an old writer, whole groves of sassa- 
fras and other odoriferous plants, which render the 

air wholesome and pleasant. The nutmeg and pimento 



are as good as indigenous, while the vanilla and the 
true gum copal abound in many spots. 

Along the seashore grows the cocoa palm, forming 
a fringe of golden green between the waves and the 
forest barrier. This palm seems to delight in the 
society of man, and is the most sociable tree to be 
found in the tropics. It was originally a stranger 
here, like myself, but in the course of centuries has 
become thoroughly acclimated. Like myself, too, it 
owed its presence here to a caprice of the sea. Long 
ages ago, perhaps, a single nut came dancing on the 
crests of the waves, having voyaged hither from the far 
Orient — from India or Ceylon. Advancing, reced- 
ing, it neared the strand, was tossed upon the beach ; 
a hurricane sent it over the ridge into a safe haven, 
where it sank into a hollow, and there performed its 
mission by sending rootlets into the sands and a pair 
of plumules skyward. 

Other nuts may have been sent to join it ; but at 
all events the result has been groves of cocoa trees, 
which form living barriers between the sea sands and 
the meadow land. Loving salt water as it does, the 
cocoa palm stays near the coast, where it can be seen 
to the best advantage, and where its treasures are 
most accessible. 

The trees gave me shade and comfort, for not only 
was my favorite promenade beneath their crowns and 
between their stems, of a morning and an evening, 
but I drew a great deal of sustenance from their fruit. 
The great clusters of golden-green nuts hanging high, 
it was next to impossible for me to climb to them, so 


I had to shoot them down with my gun. My most 
refreshing drink was the water of the cocoas, which I 
drew through small holes clipped in the shells. Their 
leaves covered my roof, from the leaf stalks I trimmed 
out very good fishing poles, and from the inner bark 
around the stems I made hats and caps. Crusoe did 
not think of this lace bark, when he was seeking for 
material for a sieve, or he might have made it answer 

There were other palms on the fringe of the forest, 
of a different species and genus, for while the cocoa 
is known as the nut bearer {Cocoa nuciferd)^ the 
others are the seed bearers, having great clusters of 
seedlike nuts, from which a kind of butter is made. 
They are the Acrocomiafusiformis of the botanists, 
and by the natives called grugru palms, with spindle- 
shaped stems and dense j)rickly heads of long leaves. 
Their boles are generally covered with vines hung 
with great perforated leaves, and they are quite as 
attractive, though in a different way, as the cocoas. 

There were cocoas along the shore, grugrus at the 
foothills, mountain palms interspersed throughout the 
forest, and the mighty palmistes towering above them 
all. The last, sometimes one hundred and fifty feet 
in height, were pre-eminent, the queens among the 
PalmacoB, grand and regal, the crowns of some of 
them rising far above the forest level, like emerald 

There are in these forests two dozen kinds of 
trees that yield timber and cabinet woods, besides the 
palms, and the shrubs that give dyes and useful arti- 


cles to the natives. A tree of gigantic axe u the 
green-heart, which derives its name from the fine 

green dust in its pores, which, coming in contact 
with the skin of the workman cutting it, tumB it red. 


This tree gives a most valuable timber, as also does 
another called the cog- wood ; and another, the bullet 
tree, the wood of which is dense and hard, has an 
edible fruit, and from it exudes a milky juice which 
possesses the properties of gutta-percha. 

Another lofty tree of great girth is the mastic, 
with its dense yellow wood. One of the largest of 
the forest trees is the locust, with towering top and 
spreading branches. Its wood is hard and compact, 
and is made into tables and sideboards. The fiddle- 
wood yields a dark-colored timber; and the fustic, 
besides giving us the well-known dye, has qualities 
which render it valuable as a timber tree, being large 
and durable. 

The cypresses are of two kinds, the white, which 
has a wood light and sweet smelling, and the black, 
which is very dark. Then there is the horseflesh, 
with purple wood, and the purple-heart itself, with 
dehcate streaks of purple throughout a body of white. 
The crabwood is another great tree, with dark-brown 
wood, its name, it is said, being a corruption of the 
Carib " carapP 

A beautiful hard wood is obtained from the yel- 
low prickle, and a yellow from the yellow sanders, 
which also ^elds a noted dye of commerce. The 
rosewood is f5und here, but not in great quantity, 
and perhaps the mahogany; but the most useful of 
them all is the great cedar {Cedrala odorata\ the 
wood of which is red in color, easily worked and 
aromatic. All the world knows of the uses to which 
it is put, in the manufacture of cigar boxes, chests 


proof againBt moths and insectB, and fomitare gen- 

It was of a cedar that Crusoe tried to fashion his 
great canoe, and which was in the end such a dismal 
failure — that is, he says it was a cedar ; but I think 
it more likely to have been a gum tree, or a ceiba — a 
silk cotton. He felt the need of a boat or canoe, you 
may remember, with which to explore the coast and 
the creeks, and so, in his deliberate way, he set him- 
self the task : 

" Whether it was not possible to make myself a 
Canoe, or Periagua, such as the Natives of those 
Climates make, even without Tools, or, as I might 
say, without Hands — viz., of the Trunk of a great 

Finally : " I f ell'd a Cedar Tree ; I question much 
whether Solomon ever had such a one for the build- 
ing of his Temple at Jerusalem. It was five Foot 
ten Inches diameter at the lower Part, next the 
Stump, and four Foot eleven Inches diameter at the 
End of twenty-two Foot, after which it lessened for a 
while, and then parted into Branches." 

We all know the termination of his arduous task 
— ^that he cut down the great tree, hollowed it out 
laboriously with fire and axe in true aboriginal fash- 
ion, and then, after all his labor, could not launch it I 

Takiiig his misspent labor as a warning, and hav- 
ing so much to do on land that I did not need to ven- 
ture at sea for many months at least, I reserved my 
strength and time for more useful work. With all 
his seafaring, Crusoe was a true ''landlubber," and 


sailor men would go further and call him a " Jonah," 
having met with so many rebuffs at the hands of old 

I have not enumerated all the arboreal residents 
of the island, but sufficient to show that I was well 
enough provided with trees for use as timber and for 
making the few articles of furniture that my necessi- 
ties seemed to require. I did not immediately ex- 
ploit the resources of my domain, but the informa- 
tion I have laid before my readers was only gained 
after months of investigation. Several months passed 
away before I felt the necessity of resorting to the 
supplies at hand in the forest for the furnishing of my 
house and for subsistence. 

In enumerating the members of my sylvan aris- 
tocracy I should not omit the Ba/mhusoe^ for they were 
among my nearest and dearest neighbors. *A great 
clump of bamboos grew almost at the door of my 
seaside hut, and a beautiful group overshadowed the 
stream where I washed, of a morning, and dipped out 
water for culinary use. They grew close to the bank, 
a perfect cluster of spears of Anak, straight and taU, 
but spreading out sheaf -like at the crown, and vrith 
fine, feathery leaves. 

Beneath the sheaf were scattered the dead and 

yellow leaves, constantly dropping; and as nothing 

else grew where these had fallen, the sloping bank 

was an inviting place for me to rest and listen to the 

murmurings of my darling brook. Some of the stems 

were five inches in diameter and the largest of them 

I thinned out, cutting them into lengths of six feet 


or so, and making of them little troughs for holding 
water. As you know, of course, the bamboo is round 
and hard, the stem being hollow, divided by partitions 
or joints, and the outside covered with a siliceous coat- 
ing. I split the stems longitudinally for troughs and 
gutters, but cut them across at the joints for other 
uses, especially for flower-pots, when later I started a 
nursery and became a gardener and horticulturist. 

They cost nothing but the labor, served the pur- 
pose better than any other kind, and were so abun- 
dant as to be inexhaustible. Bamboo Bank became 
my favorite resort ; with a book, or with some light 
labor to perform, I always sought this shady spot with 
its circlet of leaf-cai*peted earth. The slightest breath 
of wind set the leaves to dancing, and when the 
strong breezes blew the great spears rattled and 
clashed together, like the lances of a barbarian host. 

I confess to being partial to the palms and tlie 
bamboos, though this feeling may have been due to the 
fact that they were not only very beautiful in them- 
selves, but were the nearest things of beauty in my 
daily life, and closely identified with my first camp. 
The bay, the beach, the rippling stream, the savanna, 
uniting the bright strand with the gloomy forest — ^all 
these were dear to me, and none of them appealed 
more strongly to me than the bananas and plantains 
that lined the stream above. Indeed, as I reflect 
upon it, I think my lot was most fortunate ; my heart 
swelled with gladness whenever I thought upon my 
blessings; I looked upon my surroundings as the 
most delightful that man could desire. 


The trees I have enumerated were all wild, either 
indigenous or so long resident as to have become en- 
titled to be so considered. Some of them, besides 
furnishing valuable timber, yielded rare gums, like the 
" locust," the parrot apple, and the mammie apple, 
used in the arts ; and one kind so fragrant that it has 
been burned in the churches as incense. 

Valuable dyes are extracted from various woods 
and plants, as from the logwood, found along the 
shores of the lagoons, the eboe wood, and the indigo. 
Having no use for any dye, I did not avail myself 
of the material for any purpose whatever ; but one 
day, being out of ink, I found a very good substi- 
tute in the juice of a banana leaf. I do not recaU 
that Crusoe found the banana among the vegetable 
products of his island ; but if he did this was one use 
he did not put it to, for he says, " I could not make 
any Ink by any Means that I could devise." 

That Crusoe had some knowledge of the trees of 
this island is shown by his naive suggestions that the 
trees he found were this or that, but without commit- 
ting himself to a positive definition, as, for instance : 
" At last Friday pitched upon a Tree, for I found he 
knew much better than I what kind of Wood was 
fitted for the Canoe ; nor can I tell to this Day what 
Wood to call it except that it was very like the Tree 
we call Fustic, or between that and Nicaragua Wood, 
for it was much of the same Colour and Smell. And 
Friday was for burning the Hollow or Cavity of this 
Tree out, to make it for a Boat." 

One tree, however, Crusoe makes no mention of, 



and I am very sure he would if he had met with it, 
and that is the manchihneel, to which I have already 

Many years later another distinguished English- 
man, no less a personage than Lord Nelson, was badly 
poisoned by drinking water from a pool near which 
the manchihneel grew. He suffered so severely that 
he was obliged to leave his ship and go home to re- 
cruit his health. 

^^^//•x y// 



^-^:.^gsp^^^;^ \' 




Distant View of Tobago. 



Strange footprints on the sands — Crusoe's horrible discovery — 
Cannibals come to Tobago to banquet — Crusoe slays many and 
disperses them — He rescues a young Indian whom he names 
Friday— Incontestable proof that Friday was a West Indian 

Seated before my incense-breathing embers in my 
hut on the hill, I devoted those days when the floods 
came down and I was close prisoned by the rains, to 
an exhaustive reading of old books. I had brought 
them with me, and they were all about Crusoe and 
his island, the adventures he had, and the people he 
saw, who were, as he himself says, " indeed the worst 
of Salvages, for they were Cannibals, or Man-eaters, 
and failed not to murther and devour all the humane 
Bodies that fall into their Hands." 

Now I wonder if all my readers have not had a 
similar curiosity to mine : to learn who those " man- 
eaters" were, whence they came, and whether they 
were real or fictional ? I shall assume it to be a 
subject worthy of investigation, because thereby I 
shall be enabled to settle satisfactorily (for all time, 
I hope) the genesis of one of the most interesting 
characters of history — Crusoe's " Man Friday." 


(Engraving tiotu the t^ird editioa of Cnuoa, ITID.) 


In the first place, let us inquire how it all came 
about. In the words of our hero : " It happen'd one 
Day about Noon. Going towards my Boat I was ex- 
ceedingly surpriz'd with the print of a Mounts naked 
Foot on the Shore, which was very plain to be seen 
in the Sand. . . . When I was come down the Hill to 
the Shore, I was perfectly amaz'd ; nor is it possible 
for me to express the horror of my Mind at seeing 
the Shore spread with Skulls, Hands, Feet, and other 
Bones of humane Bodies ; and particularly I observ'd 
a Place where there had been a Fire made and a 
Circle dug in the Earth like a Cock-pit, where it is 
suppos'd the savage Wretches had sat down to their 
inhumane Feasting upon the Bodies of their fellow 

Crusoe made this disquieting discovery after he 
had been on his island eighteen years, and as a conse- 
quence he was thrown into convulsions of terror ; he 
fled to his cave, where he remained self -prisoned for 
weeks, and when he did come out it was only after 
taking most extraordinary precautions against sur- 
prise and capture. Without commenting on the emo- 
tions of Crusoe, the frequent frights he was thrown 
into, and his mental disturbances thereat, let us now 
try to find oat who these savages were that had in- 
vaded his domain. They were Indians, of course — 
that is, red men — discovered and named by Columbus, 
on his first voyage to America, in 1492. 

The next year (1493) Columbus sailed still far- 
ther southward, and in the islands of Dominica and 
Guadeloupe he found the fierce Caribs, people be- 


longing to the same race of red men, but of a differ- 
ent family. They were brave and warlike, and gave 
the Spaniards such a warm reception that they left 
them alone for many years after, and in revenge 
called them man-eaters. Thus the word cannibal^ 
which is derived from Carib, the name of the tribe, 
gained its present meaning. From the same name 
the great Shakespeare derived that of his savage hero 
"Caliban," who appears in The Tempest, and who 
was distantly related to " Friday." * 

Five years after this voyage Columbus sailed still 
farther to the south, discovering the great island 
of Trinidad, opposite one of the mouths of the 
Orinoco, and without doubt sighting the island of 

Not quite a hundred years later Trinidad was 
visited by the English admiral. Sir Walter Ealeigh, 
who took the island from the Spaniards and made a 
famous expedition up the Orinoco in search of myth- 
ical El Dorado, with its golden palace and its king 
almost smothered with gold dust. So, you see, this 
region was very well known, when Crusoe came sail- 
ing into it, about 1659 ; and all its inhabitants had 
been accurately described when the famous book was 
written, sixty years afterward. 

Now, Man Friday was clearly a Carib. Instead 

* Raleigh and Shakespeare were so exactly contemporaneous, 
the span of the latter's life being included within that of the 
former, that it is more than probable the great bard drew upon 
the great admiral for material, while the novelist Defoe garnered 
stores of information from both. 


of being in any way related to the Chilians or the 
Patagonians or the Fuegians — as some would have us 
believe — ^he was intimately connected with the very 
tribes discovered by Columbus, inhabiting the islands 
known as the Caribbees. I assert, and with confi- 
dence, that Friday came from the island of Trinidad ; 
that he was a Carib, and belonged to the maligned 
tribe of Indians called by the Spaniards " cannibales." 
And I am well supported in this assertion, since it 
was also made by that eminent writer, the late Charles 
Kingsley, who says : " Crusoe's Island is almost cer- 
tainly meant for Tobago ; Man Friday had been 
stolen in Trinidad I " 

Man Friday, then, was a Carib. Descendants of 
his relatives still reside in two islands of the Carib- 
bees, called Dominica and St. Vincent ; but they are 
no longer eaters of human flesh, being as peaceable 
as was Friday himself after Crusoe had completed his 

Crusoe discovered footprints on the sands — so did 
I. But those I found were more in the nature of 
" footprints on the sands of time," being relics of the 
Indians who had lived here when Columbus and Cru- 
soe themselves were alive. In the sand drift behind 
my hut, and occasionally in the forest soil, I found 
many traces of the departed Indians, such as stone 
axes, hatchets, spear and arrow heads. On some of 
the cliffs also I found their rude inscriptions, carved 
long centuries ago. These remains showed that In- 
dians had often visited the place, and in that par- 
ticular confirmed Crusoe's story. 


Now, it has never been proved that the Caribs of 
the "West Indies were cannibals. Crasoe only repeats 
the fable of the Spaniards, and they never saw the 
Indians actually eating human flesh. Nevertheless, 
on the strength of this assumption he prepares for 

Carib implement^ of Btooe. 

battle : girds on his great catlass, his hatchet, and hie 
" store of ammunition," throws a big musket over 
each shoulder, sticks a brace of pistols in his belt, and 
then sallies forth, to conquer or to die. 

I can not help it, bat really my sympathies 
were entirely with the "inhumane salvages," who 
were comparatively defenseless, having only their 
stone spears and battle-axes ; while the ferocious 
Crusoe carried a whole arsenal of firearms, against 
which the poor wretches could make no soccessful 


He surprised them, you know, at their preparations 
for the feast, and while they were stupefied with amaze- 
ment at the desolating fire from his muskets, he killed 
or wounded nearly all of them. Friday, after he had 
recovered from his fright, killed six of the Indians, 
despatching such of them as were merely wounded, 
and the grand total was nineteen. 

There was one thing, however, that gave me a 
great respect for Crusoe — even though I had my 
doubts as to the wisdom of it — and that was the tre- 
mendous charge of powder and ball he used to ram 
into his old musket. A handful of powder and " six 
or seven bullets " was an ordinary load, according to 
Crusoe ; and he used to shoot it off as calmly as 
though he were merely exploding a bunch of fij*e- 
crackers ! 

Of course, every boy in America remembers the 
circumstances of the fij*st meeting, when poor Friday, 
having been brought to Crusoe's island, Tobago, by 
the cruel cannibals, seized the first opportunity offered 
for escape, and ran right into Crusoe's arms. It is 
hard to say which was the more frightened of the 
two : Crusoe in his horrible armor of shaggy goat- 
skin, or trembling " Friday " in no skin but his very 

But the helpless Indian boy finally settled it by 
crawling to Cnisoe's feet and placing one foot of the 
strange being on his head, in token of submission. 
Neither could understand the other's language, at first ; 
but there was between them a universal speech — that 
of love and trust — a tie that bound them together and 


made all communication easy. The young Indian 
was called " Friday," as you will remember, because 
he was discovered and saved on that day of the week 
— the first human being the hermit had met and con- 
versed with in many a long year. i^ 

" He was a comely, handsome fellow, perfectly 
well made, with strait, strong Limbs, not too large ; 
tall and well shaped. He had a good Countenance, 
not a fierce and surly Aspect; but seem'd to have 
Something very manly in his Face. His Hair was 
long and black, not curl'd like Wool ; his Forehead 
very high and large, and a great vivacity and spark- 
ling sharpness in his Eyes. 

" The colour of his Skin was not black, but very 
tawney ; and yet, not of an ugly nauseous tawney, as 
the Brazilians and Virginians, and other Natives of 
America are; but of a bright kind of a dun olive 
Colour, that had in it something very agreeable, 
though not easy to describe. His Face was round 
and plump, his Nose small, but not flat like the Ne- 
groes' ; a very good Mouth, thin Lips, and his fine 
Teeth well set, and white as Ivory." 

That is Man Friday's portrait, as drawn by Kobin- 
son Crusoe, mariner, shortly after these two distin- 
guished heroes of fiction became acquainted. And it 
is sufficiently accurate for us to identify, by means of 
it, the Indian's surviving relatives, many degrees 
removed — ^the Caribs of the Lesser Antilles of the 
present day. 

Friday informed his master that the few poor 
wretches who escaped would tell their friends on the 


other island (Trinidad) that they had been killed by 
thunder and lightning, as this was their first ac- 
quaintance with firearms. But this is one of the many 
anachronisms of the book ; for at the time " Crusoe " 
was written (1719) there were no Indians on the 
coasts of the Americas and the West Indies unac- 
quainted with firearms. At that time more than two 
hundred years had passed since the first Spaniards 
had carried guns and powder thither, and the rude 
weapons of the aborigines had long since been super- 
seded by those of the Europeans. Yet all the sav- 
ages that Crusoe met were armed with *' wooden 
swords and clubs, bows and arrows." 

Upon one point, however, the author of "Crusoe'^ 
is correct : that the Indians " ate only such as were 
taken in battle " ; for, like the Aztecs of Mexico, the 
Caribs, if they were given to the practice of cannibal- 
ism at all, were merely " ritual cannibals," so called — 
that is, they ate the fiesh of their enemies merely 
from motives apart from a desire for human flesh as 
food. If their prisoners were noted for their bravery, 
they believed that by devouring their flesh some of 
their valiant quality would thereby be imparted to 
their own frame, and proceeded accordingly. 

That Defoe was generally accurate in his descrip- 
tions, and rarely departed from the lines of verity, 
is shown in all his attempts to depict the environ- 
ment of his hero ; he never makes a mistake in that 

Finally, to conclusively prove that Man Friday 
was an Indian of the southern West Indies, I will 


quote a fragment of a conversation between Crusoe 
and his servant : " I aaked him the names of the 
several Nations of his sort of People, but could get 
no other name than Garths, from whence I easily un- 

Carib girl of to-day, 

derstood that these islands were the Caribbees, which 
our Maps place on the coast of America," etc. 

We come new to Crusoe's departure: "When I 
took leave of this Island, I earry'd on Board, for Rel- 
iqnes, the great Goat-skin Cap I had made ; mj Um- 
brella and my Parrot. And thus I left the Island, the 


19th Day of December, in the Year 1686, after I had 
been upon it eight and twenty Years, two Months, 
and 19 Days." 

When he arrived in England, June, 1687, after 
an absence of thirty-five years, he was well along in 
life ; but even then he married. Eight years later, 
however, his wife died, and he went roving again, 
impelled by an irresistible desire to revisit the scene 
of his adventures, which he reached in April, 1695. 
In the narrative of that second voyage to Tobago he 
again refers to Trinidad as a neighboring island, for 
he went ashore there and saw some of the Indians. 

Lastly, in bringing to a conclusion all this .cumu- 
lative evidence in favor of Tobago as the island of 
Crusoe's exile, and of Friday as an Indian of the 
West Indies, I wish to reiterate that Selkirk's was 
not the only narrative from which Defoe might have 
derived suggestions, if not actual material, for a story. 
The chronicles of the Spanish conquests are replete 
with adventures strange and wonderful ; the voyages 
of Drake, Morgan, and Hawkins were full of incidents 
such as the novelist would like to seize upon and 
weave into a story. 

It can not be doubted that Defoe had grasped all 
these things before, that he had stored in memory the 
description of early voyagers, and especially Raleigh's, 
and was only awaiting a hero, when along came Sel- 
kirk. This I am constrained to believe : that, having 
got together this food for fiction and this hero to his 
mind, he merely waited during many years for leisure 
to shape it according to his fancy ; that he was engaged 


for years in the preparation of the story, in digesting 
the material for it ; but there are many evidences of 
haste in its final con str action. 

Crusoe, then, though he may have been most 
forcibly suggested 'by Selkirk, is in reality the sub- 
stance of many Selkirks — the quintessence of all the 
shipwrecked mariners of note, from the time of 
Columbus to the year 1700. This subtle magician, 
this cunning alchemist, Defoe, subjected many exiles 
to the fires of his imagination, ere he found Crusoe 
and Friday in his crucible I 

Carib oell, or " thunderbolt" 




How the hunter was hunted — All night in a tree — A perilous ex- 
periment — A terrible tusker — Man Friday to the rescue — 
The first human being I had seen for months. 

In the chapter preceding I gave the results of my 
rainy-day investigations. In this I shall describe my 
encounter with the largest wild quadrupeds of Tobago, 
the peccaries. 

One day, during a fine interval in the rainy season, 
I penetrated the forest much farther than I had done 
before. I went so far, in fact, that I had difficulty 
in determining my location, and was in doubt how to 
reach my camp. At last coming to a cliff which over- 
hung a stream and gave some shelter, I sat down to 
think it over. 

Beneath the cliff there was a cave, dry and quite 
deep, which offered a retreat for the night, if it should 
chance that I could not reach home. Placing my 
gun far in, out of the wet, I sat in the cave's mouth 
and abandoned myself to gloomy reflections. 

I was rudely aroused, however, by a sound quite 

near me ; and looking up, I saw the animal which, of 

all four-footed creatures, I dreaded most to meet, at 



such a time and in such a place. It was short and 
sturdy in shape and dark in color — a miniature hog ; 
in fact, a peccary — I recognized him at a glance. 
I knew, too, that there were likely to be other pec- 
caries not far away. 

Meanwhile he stood staring at me, as if to inquire 
by what right I had taken possession of his den. He 
did not even move when I rose and reached in for my 
gun, but spread his legs apart and shook his vicious- 
looking head, in a manner that indicated a determina- 
tion to attack, rather than retreat a single step. It 
was then quite clear to me that I was occupying the 
entrance to his habitation, and that he was very 
anxious for me to get out of the way. 

He made several feints and lunges as if to pass 
me, and dodged about so rapidly that for a while I 
could get no good aim at a vulnerable spot in his 
tough, hairy hide. But at last as he halted a moment 
beneath the cliff, seemingly about to charge upon me, 
I gave him a load of coarse bird-shot, back of the 
fore shoulder. This, however, was worse than useless. 
It did not kill him, but merely infuriated him. He 
fell, to be sure, but with his snout toward the enemy, 
and gave utterance to such unearthly sounds that I 
was much alarmed. And with good reason; for 
either his horrid squeals or the report of my gun 
caused a whole herd of peccaries to start up — ^they 
seemed to come right out of the ground. They be- 
came perfectly frenzied at the sight of their wounded 
companion ; and after rubbing noses with him a mo- 
ment or two, and inquiring, brute fashion, the cause 


of his trouble, they all made a dasli at me. I now 
had both barrels of my gun loaded with larger shot, 
and let the ugly brutes have them, right and left, 
bowling over two of the largest. I then scrambled 
up the clifE as far as I could go. 

It was not very far — ^not far enough, in fact — for 
they came after me, pell-mell, tumbling over each 
other, in their eagerness to avenge their friend. 
There was one old "tusker," whose white teeth 
gleamed wickedly through his parted lips, and he led 
the charge, getting so near to me that one of my 
leggings was ripped up and a small gash cut in one 
leg. A well-put kick in his jaws sent him tumbling 
down among the others, though he was instantly up 
again and at me, the fire flashing from his eyes, and 
his lips dripping foam. 

In the brief interval, I had drawn myself as far 
up as the narrow ledge I was on would permit ; but 
this was only a few inches bevond the reach of the 
old boar, in his desperate lunges, and even there I 
could only hold on with great difficulty. 

At imminent risk of falling among that grunting, 
writhing mass of stark-mad peccaries, I got a cartridge 
out of my belt (but whether of large or small shot I 
could not tell) and finally managed to slip it into my 
gun. This load I sent right into the face and eyes of 
the " tusker," and over he went, landing at the base 
of the cliff, where he spun round and round on his 
back at a lively rate. 

The cliff above me was very steep, and my foot- 
hold so precarious that I was in constant danger of 


falling ; but, projecting from a rent in the rocks, not 
more than twenty feet away, I saw a large tree, over- 
hanging the bed of the stream. If only I could 
secure refuge in that tree I There I should be safe, 
at least for the time; but the trouble was to get 
there, without slipping and falling into the midst of 
that herd of savage pigs beneath me. 

Slinging my gun over my shoulder, I began the 
perilous experiment. My motions, of course, at- 
tracted the attention of the herd, and they all dashed 
wildly at the rock, but the foremost fell short by 
nearly a foot, despite his most frantic efforts. My 
feelings, at that moment, were indescribable ; but 1 
shut my eyes to the possibility of a fall, and concen- 
trated all my powers in my finger tips, clinging to 
the wall of rock like a limpet, and worming my way 
along inch by inch. My porcine guard below con- 
tinued to inform me of their presence, grunting their 
disapproval of my flight, and gnashing their teeth in 
expectation of a chance to whet them on my bones. 
I was keenly aware of their every motion, yet dared 
not look in their direction, but kept my eyes fixed 
upon a friendly limb which reached out toward me ; 
and this I finally grasped, after what eeemed to me 
an age of anxious expectation. 

Safe in the tree at last, I seated myself among a 
spongy mass of wild pines and dripping, broad-leaved 
plants. It was not the pleasantest seat in the world, 
and I felt, as Crusoe once said, that I had found a 
" dreadful deliverance," though I had escaped imme- 
diate death. From its almost horizontal position, 


hanging over the ravme, the tree gave me but little 
shelter, and I was exposed to the full force of the 
rain, which fell at intervals throughout the day. But 
I had chosen what seemed to me the lesser of the two 
evils, and must abide the consequences. 

The "evils" from which 1 had escaped now 
counted up some twenty in number. They no longer 
seemed animated by any special fury, but they did 
seem to consider it their duty to await my descent ; 
and there was something particularly discouraging in 
their attitude of sullen, dogged determination to stay 
right there till I came down, whether it were next 
day or next week. No amount of shooting or shout- 
ing seemed to affect that determination, and so, after 
laying out several of them with charges of the largest 
shot I had, I desisted from my attempts to drive them 
away, for I had not cartridges enough to exterminate 
the whole gang. 

So there they sat all day long, grimly watching. 
I pictured to myself the horrors of the situation if 
they should persist in the siege until fatigue or star- 
vation should cause me to succumb, for I knew that 
they were capable of prolonged waiting, their nature 
being so vindictive that they would stay for days, in 
order to gratify their rage. Even after it became so 
dark that I could not distinguish their forms, I could 
still hear them lunging at one another, keeping up 
their vengeful appetite by frequent quarrels among 
themselves, and clattering their tusks like castanets. 

I did not dare attempt to sleep, and to prevent 
myself from falling in case sleep overcame me, I 


passed my waist belt around a perpeadicalar branch. 
Finally, the moon came out of the clouds and looked 

Treed by peccuiea. 

down through the branches, but only succeeded in 
faintly lighting up the ground below, where the mov- 


ing forms were converted into veritable imps of dark- 

How slowly those night hours dragged along! 
It seemed as if daylight would never come ; but at 
last it appeared, sweetly heralded by the twittering of 
birds; but greeted, too, with grunts by my black 
jailers, who glanced up at me anxiously, to assure 
themselves that I was still in evidence. 

As the sun rose above the tree tops its heat soon 
dried my clothes ; yet still I sat there, cramped and 
weary, undecided what to do, but revolving many 
plans for escape. A sudden disturbance in the herd 
beneath me drew my attention. The peccaries were 
all facing southward, sniffing the air suspiciously, evi- 
dently startled. Two or three of the old boars started 
out to reconnoiter. They returned in a few minutes 
with some information, apparently, that caused every 
member of the gang to gather himself up on his feet 
as if electrified. 

Eagerly turning my attention in the direction 
toward which they looked, I soon heard a faint noise, 
like the barking of a dog ; and as this became more 
distinct the peccaries charged nervously hither and 
thither, grunting at each other in great alarm. A 
dog, of course, implied a master. I shouted and fired 
off my gun ; and after a while came an answering 
human voice — the first I had heard in many months 
— but I could not distinguish the words. 

Soon after the crashing of bushes and branches 
announced something approaching, and I shouted out 
a warning of the danger that might be incurred by 


advancing incautiously. My warning was not heeded, 
for there suddenly burst into view a man with a dog, 
on the cliflE above me. The man, who saw the pec- 
caries almost simultaneously with his appearance, lev- 
eled his gun and fired. At the same time the dog 
barked vociferously ; and after a moment's hesitation 
my enemies turned tail and scurried away. It must 
have been a dreadful disappointment to them, after 
their long vigil, but they didn't wait for a farewell. 

As the last one of them disappeared in the forest 
gloom I realized that my deliverance had come, and 
tried to descend from my perch. This, however, I 
found impossible without the assistance of my deliv- 
erer, a negro, whose kindly black face was the most 
welcome thing I had seen in a long time. He made 
a fire and a cup of coffee for me, while I was striving 
to regain the use of my limbs ; and as soon as I was 
able to walk, guided me to camp, which we reached 
without further adventure. 

My companion did his best to cheer me, but my 
reflections on the way home were not at all consola- 
tory, for I felt the humiliation of the affair and that 
my dignity as a man, hitherto sole monarch of this 
realm, had been compromised. Still, there was no 
blinking the fact : I had been treed by " wild hogs." 
The hunter had been hunted ; the doctor treated to a 
taste of his own medicine. I could not, after all, but 
acknowledge the justice of it, and would not have 
minded a small dose of my own medicine ; but this 
had been a bolus, when a mere pill might have suf- 


It was with a certain sort of grim satisfaction that 
I recalled how Crusoe had taken to a tree, the very first 
night he was on shore after his shipwreck. But his 
was a voluntary treeing, while mine was compulsory ; 
for he says :...." All the Remedy that offer'd to my 
thoughts at that Time was to get up into a thick bushy 
Tree, like a Firr, but thorny, which grew near me, and 
where I resolv'd to sit all Night, and consider next 
Day what death I should dye ; for as yet I saw no 
prospect of Life." 

He wouldn't have done it if I could have been 
there to tell him about the ants, the centipedes, the 
pestiferous insects generally, that inhabit such a tree 
in the tropics, and do their best to make miserable any 
one invading their domain 1 

Experience was his teacher as well as mine, how- 
ever, and I can vouch for the truth of his words when 
he says : " I learnt also this in particular : that being 
abroad in the rainy Season was the most pernicious 
Thing for my Health that could be." It certainly was 
for mine, as the next chapter will show. 



Prostrate with fever — Providence sends a nurse — A mystery ex- 
plained — My parrot's early life — A case of original sin — A 
bird of great sagacity — A believer in witchcraft — How the 
King of the Woods scared Sam well Jones — Who stole the 

I HAD occasion to prove the correctness of Cru- 
soe's observation upon the danger of being abroad in 
the rainy season during the week that followed my 
adventure with the peccaries, for a tormenting fever 
laid hold on me, racking my joints and consuming my 

Then I had cause for thankfulness to Providence 
in sending me such a deliverer as came in the person 
of my black friend, who not only had rescued me from 
the wild hogs, but attended me assiduously through- 
out the progress of the disease. That Tobago fever 
is one of the worst of the diseases with which the 
islands of the West Indies are afflicted, being painful 
and acute, and never leaving its victims altogether 
without a change of climate. 

Reaching my house with difficulty near the close 
of the day following my encounter, I was assisted by 
my new friend to my hammock, only to sink into de- 



liriiim, leaving to him the care of all my possessions, 
including myself. It was three days later that I re- 
covered fnll consciousness of my surroundings, and 
another day had passed before I could summon 
strength enough to inquire as to events subsequent to 
my attack. 

Then I found myself lying upon a comfortable cot 
which my man had improvised for the time and occa- 
sion, making a rough frame and filling a sack of can- 
vas with husks from the maize. 

Noting my look of astonishment as I felt along the 
mattress and my evident approval, he hastened to ex- 
plain : " Yo' see, sah, de hamak, him bery crooked, 
an' you git all double up, an' when you toss about an' 
trow yo' ahms round, like yo' don't rest, me tink um 
bed much better fo' yo', sah." 

I thanked him with my eyes, feeling grateful, in- 
deed, for this evidence of thoughtfulness, and he pro- 
ceeded : " Yo' see, sah, me took um liberty of staying 
heah till yo' recob'ry, sah, becose yo' not able to care 
for yo'sef ; but when yo' well 'nough to dispense wiv 
ma services, me seek um house at tudder end ob 
island, sah." 

" No, no," I whispered, " don't hasten away, un- 
less you have to go. I have another hut you can oc- 
cupy, and we can find provisions enough to last us 
some time yet." 

" Yes, massa, me see um tudder hut, down by de 
sho' of what dey call um ' Man-o'-Wah Bay ' ; an' it 
fine place fo' ole man Ned ; me hab no 'casion to go, 
massa, an' wiv yo' perraishun me stop wiv yo' little 


while. But, don' yo' talk too much, massa ; drink dis 
ar'root gruel me mak fo' yo', an' go sleep ag'in." 

After that rational refreshment and a nap I was 
ready to take a short walk about the house, and I 
noted with delight how neat it was, and the many 
little touches my " Friday " had given to the rooms, 
showing a refined nature and good breeding. 

He was a man past middle age, with bent and shriv- 
eled form, gray kinky hair, and a shrewd and wrinkled 
face. He was a native of the island, never having 
been beyond its shores ; had been bom a slave, but 
was freed in the English emancipation, and had always 
lived, until recently, at the " great house " of his for- 
mer master, on a plantation, where he occupied the 
post of major-domo, having general charge of all do- 
mestic affairs. 

His old master had died about ten years before, 
the plantation went into the hands of some London 
merchants on account of debts incurred by its man- 
agers, and he was set adrift, having accumulated noth- 
ing during his long years of servitude, but having a 
local reputation for honor and faithfulness that served 
him well for a time among the few planters left on the 

Of late he had made a scant living by shooting 
birds for the feather dealers in Trinidad, and for sev- 
eral years had roamed the forests in search of high- 
colored birds for the feather market. He had taught 
himself the art of taxidermy, and I found him quite 
expert at the skinning of birds, but an affliction which 
caused his hands to tremble violently made the work 


slow and difficult. Seeing that I noticed this, he ex- 
plained that it was a judgment on him for pursuing 
the calling that he did and for killing small birds by 
compressing their lungs ; for when a small bird falls 
wounded, in order to kill it the collector takes it be- 
tween his thumb and finger and presses the sides un- 
der the wings, where the lungs are situated ; thus it 
is suffocated and dies in the hand, gasping and flut- 

It was my man's firm belief that the fluttering 
birds had communicated their convulsions to his own 
person, and that he would suffer for this sin till his 
dying day. I would not gainsay this, for I was not in 
sympathy with the bird hunters ; but I found his ac- 
quirements very useful to me, and sought to teach him 
to discriminate between the wanton killing of birds 
for mere pleasure and ornament and collecting for the 
purposes of science. He was intelligent enough to 
note this difference and deferential enough to accept 
my dictum ; but he urged that he had as good a right 
to shoot the birds for a living as any one had to stock 
a museum. 

And in truth, I could not say that he had not, hav- 
ing ray own doubts about the pretensions of so-called 
scientific men, who shoot hundreds and thousands of 
innocent birds, merely to determine a point of differ- 
ence in nomenclature or some specific differentiation. 
At any rate the birds don't know any difference, 
whether they be martyrs to science or to fashion ! 

My new friend and servant was all that one could 
have wished — quiet, cleanly, deferential, intelligent, 


intuitively perceptive of my wishes, and desirous of 
serving me by day and by night. 

He was greatly concerned about my health, and, 
finding him expert in nursing and a master in the art 
of simples and native remedies for fever, I resigned 
myself unreservedly into his charge. The quinine 
the mate had given me as I left the vessel now came 
into use, but his strong reliance was in a decoction of 
herbs, administered every few hours, which broke the 
fever and eventually cured me. Finding some wild 
limes in the woods, he made me drink freely of an 
infusion, and rubbed me down every night with rum 
and lime leaves, finally bringing me out well, and 
rapidly regaining my strength, at the end of a week. 

That was a week of happy surprises, and the first 
one cleared up a mystery. We were conversing in 
my doorway one day about dusk, when I heard a 
flutter of wings and a chatter of parrot voices, which 
told me that Polly Psittacus had returned from a pro- 
tracted visit somewhere with his mate. I thought he 
would, of course, fly directly to me and tell me all 
about his trip, as usual with him after a long absence ; 
but instead, to my great astonishment, he landed on 
Friday's shoulder with a loud shriek of " Ned, Ned, 
hullo Ned ! " ignoring me entirely. 

Friday was more than astonished, he was terrified. 
" Goodness, massa, wha' dis a bud come from ? " he 
ejaculated. " 'Clar to gracious if it ain't old ' Jim- 
crack,' who useter lib wiv us at ' Betsy's Hope ' fo' 
mo'n twenty year." 

Polly was so delighted that he seemed unable to 


express his pleasure by means of ordinary demonstra- 
tions, but tweaked his friend's ears, crawled all over 
his arms and shoulders, and bobbed his head affirma- 
tively at all he said. " Ned sahe Jimcrack, po' ole 
Jimcrack ; Jimcrack want a drink, ha, ha, ha ! " 

" Da's de same sho'-nuff ole Jimcrack ; dat's what 
he useter say to me ebery mawnin', puched on de 
back ob ole massa's cha'r. But wha' he come from ? 
How you ketch dis ole raskil, sah ? " 

I then told him of the capture of Psittacus, our 
companionship, and of my surprise at his linguistic 

" Well, sah, dis prove to me dat de Lawd's ban's 
am in dis all. Who sen' Jimcrack to you, sah, when 
you is all alone an' need somebuddy to convarse wiv, 
sah? Why, de Lawdl He know what's what; he 
know how yo' lose de use er yo' tong ef yo' don' hab 
nobuddy f o' talk wiv, sah ; he take mo' pity on yo' 
dan yo' tek on yo'self, sah ; ef yo' pehmit um say so 
who ain't no desire to critumcise yo' acks, sah. But de 
mystry to me am dis : Ef de Lawd want yo' hab com- 
pany, an' de Lawd know sho' nuff dat yo' need good 
comp'ny, wha' fo' he sen' such ole raskil as dis Jim- 
crack ? Massa, he de raskilist ole bud dat eber fly. 
He fuller ob 'rignal sin dan a aig is full er meat. 
Swar ! Yo' orter heah um swar ! " 

" Yo' orter heah um swar," chimed in Psittacus, 
who had been a delighted listener, and who nodded 
his head at every accomplishment enumerated. 

" Wha' um tell yo', massa, am de truf ," said Fri- 
day, holding up his hands in horror, and at the same 


time with a delighted expression on his wrinkled fea- 
tures. "Dis a bud ken swar en fawty langwidges, 
sah ; he ken swar en Spanish, an' French, an', 
an' " 

" Orter hear nm swar," broke in the bird again, 
" swar in Spanish — ^ha, ha ! — caramba ! old black son 
of a gun ! " 

" Yo' heah dat, massa ? Wha' um tole yuh ? Da 
ain' no use tryin' c'reck him, nuther ; he done tawk 
dat a way mor'n twenty yeah ; tawk jes so when ole 
massa buy him, from a sailor on Spanish Main ; tawk 
lek dat when ma missus die; he mos' scandalumize 
de pahson, sah, to def. 

" Lemme discose to yo', sah. Dis a bud he nuffin' 
less'n de debil, sah. When ma missus come to die, 
sah, an' de pahson arribe, an' de serbants all aroun' 
a-snifflin' an' a-cryin', an' de room full'n frien's so yo' 
couldn' see across it, an' de air all stiflin', an' pore 
ole missus a-gaspin' fer bref — can see um now, mas- 
sa, jes lek et was yist'dy — den wha' yo' tink dis a 
bud done do, sah ? It mus' a ben de debil, sah, put 
et in he head ; why, sah, he done puch on de foot- 
bo'd, an' nobuddy don't see him dah, an' he keep 
bery quiet, like he don' wan' nobuddy see um. 

"An', sah, when de pahson done put de ques'ion: 
whereabouts dis good woman go ef she die, who had 
ben good missus all her life an' no harm nobuddy — 
when de pahson say dat, up hop ole Jimcrack an' 
holler out, so all de aujence hear um, de patois fer 
go to de bad place, sah ! Dey don' speak it in dis a 
island, sah, but ober en Grenada, what de French 


nfieter own. When ole massa hear dat all, he mek f er 
dat a bnd wiy a stick, an' when he ketch mn, sah, he 
a'mos' brek he bones, an' twis' he neck, an' trow nm 
ont en de bushes like he was dead, sah. 

" Ef de debil wan' in dat a bnd, sah, he never re- 
cober no mo' ; but de nex' mawnin' he jes' come 
a-hoppin' inter de house, sah, an' he puch on de back 
ob de char lek he useter always, an' he pop he head 
on de one side an' he put um beak on de bald spot on 
ole massa's head an' he say, ober an' ober ag'in, dat 
same 'spression, an' yo' couldn' mek him stop ef yo' 
was to kill um fer it, sah. 

"Ole massa he was a-eatin' he brekfas', but he 
didn' had no appertite, an' he was a-tryin' ter look 
solum an' onhappy, fer de missus had libed wiv him 
more' n f awty yeah, sah ; an' when he hear da bud 
he jes a choke an' jump up an' run inter de smoke- 
house, an' gib way ter um feelings ; an' to dis a day, 
sah, um tinks ole massa was a-laffin more'n he was 
a-cryin' ! 

" He try to mek up to Jimcrack, but it wan' no 
use ; de bud, sah, didn' 'pear to hab no hard f eelin' 
'ginst him, sah, but he treat him in distant, hotty 
way ; but um see 'spression in um eye dat neber dar 
befo', sah ; an' when my ole massa die, befo' de end ob 
de month, sah, de brack folks tink an' say dat Jimcrack 
hab done put jumbie spell on him. Tissir, an' when 
dey done lay ole massa in de groun', wha' yo' 
tink him do ? Dat same bud come an' puch on de 
grabe an' he hoi' he head down to de groun' an' re- 
peat, sah, dem same wuds what mek old massa so 


mad. Fo' truf , me massa, um tink dis a jumbie bud ; 
he hab ebil sperit in um, sho'. 

" Yo' see um look at me now ? He onderstan' 
ebry word um say ; ah, ef he ain' do yo' no mischief, 
it 'cause he hab some reason fer it, an' not 'cause he 
lub yuh." 

Friday sighed, and regarded the parrot with dis- 
may expressed in his face. But the bird did not 
mind ; he only rubbed his beak against, Friday's ear, 
and then flew outside, where his mate was awaiting 

" So he got new wife, eh ? You ole Jimcrack, 
whar yo' pick up purty parrot like a dat to live wiv 
yo' ? Yo' goin' leave um soon, like yo' leave yo' mate 
on de ole plantashum. She can't talk, but um un'stan' 
what he mind ter let her. Jimcrack like humans in 
dat respec' : he hab two langwidge, one for he wife 
an' one fer de world in gen'rul. When he say to her, 
*Ma dear, um got to go ter hunt ma grub, an' it 
may be late when um come back, so don' set up, ma 
dear,' she don' know whar about he go to." 

I reassured him on this point, and narrated how 
Psittacus had made his dwelling in the palm tree, 
raised a small family of children, foraged for the fam- 
ily, and in all respects behaved like the model hus- 
band that he then appeared to be. 

It may have been noticed that I called my new 
friend after the companion of Crusoe, his coming to 
me was so opportune, and he had so many of the 
good qualities of that excellent Carib. The name in- 
advertently slipped out, now and then, when I ad- 


dressed him, and lie always corrected me, reminding 
me that he had been christened Thomas Ned, and 
was known all over the island as " Old Ned." 

He had no objection, he said, to being called 
" Friday," and if I insisted upon it he would adopt 
that name for life ; but he really hoped I would not, 
as it was the unlucky day of the week, the only day 
which he feared ; and even after I had explained 
who the original Friday was, he raised the question 
whether it was complimentary to call him after an 
ex-cannibal and ignorant savage I 

But I think he was as devoted to me as the Indian 
was to Crusoe : " He was now gotten over his Fright, 
and he was very cheerful, and told me, as before, he 
would dye when I bid dye," etc. So I felt with re- 
gard to Ned : I knew I could trust him, even to the 
length of dying for me. 

He could not write his name, but when I asked 
him how he spelled it, he said he didn't know, 
but there was "um letter M in it somewhar." I 
adopted Polly Psittacus's fashion of addressing him 
as " Mister Ned," which pleased him mightily ; but 
he never ventured on such familiarity as to call me 
anything less formal than Massa, because, as he said, 
I was his master now, the only one he had, and the 
only person in the world he could look to in his old 

I can not say that I relished the idea of sharing 
my solitude with any other human being ; but when 
I reflected upon the service he had rendered me, and 
how my life was in a measure due to his fortunate 

M^ Man t'ritlBj, Thomu fl«d. 


arrival in the nick of time, and his assiduous care 
while I was sick, I became reconciled to the situ- 

After all, his was not an intrusive presence ; he 
made no claim to fellowship, except through a com- 
munity of interests ; he was grateful for my atten- 
tion merely, happy in my presence, and delighted to 
be of service to me. It was but natural that he 
should look to me for the future, and I resolved 
that he should not come to want, if it were in my 
power to prevent it. 

After my convalescence he retired to the hut at 
the bay every night as the trade winds blew, and ap- 
peared again at sunrise, sometimes later, at which 
times it would be with a string of fish which he had 
caught from the rocks. He was not much given to 
bathing, so he watched on the beach for sharks, whUe 
I enjoyed myself in security, after the old fashion be- 
fore 1 had been frightened by the sea monsters. He 
took care of the other members of my family, know- 
ing better than I what their special preferences were, 
and they all thrived wonderfully, under his fostering 

Although he had passed the greater portion of his 
latter years in the woods, yet he was full of fears and 
superstitions. I don't think he had any fear of personal 
violence from anything that he could see, but it was 
of the spiritual world that he stood in awe. The 
forest was peopled with spirits, good and bad, espe- 
cially bad ; every old tree with hollow trunk held its 
dryads, its " jumbies," and a score of birds were only 


the visible embodiments of departed worthies who 
had lived in Tobago in the past. 

" Me was made narvis (nervous) by holdin' de bud 
en um han' to die," he would remark, looking mourn- 
fully at his shaking fingers, " an' all de wood folks 
an' de jumbies know me am spotted to die mase'f by 
dat bery sign." No amount of argument could shake 
his faith in the jumbies, for he was a direct descend- 
ant of an African slave, who had brought with him 
to these islands all the superstitions of the Guinea 
coast, all the fetishism and witchcraft. 

There is no less of witchcraft practiced now than 
in the early days of slavery, when African " obeah- 
ism " was at its height ; and Thomas Ned, good man 
that he was, and local preacher that he had sometimes 
been, was deeply imbued with its teachings. His par- 
ticular aversion was the " Ole Boy," a malignant spirit 
that roamed the woods, and whose origin is given in 
the local folklore as follows : In slavery time a certain 
woman had in her charge an orphan boy, whom she 
one day took out with her to her provision ground, 
when he strayed away and was drowned in a pond. 
He was found and buried, but as the distance from 
town was great, no parson attended and no funeral 
service was read over his grave. As a consequence of 
this neglect, his soul was refused admittance into 
heaven and was forced to return to earth, where it 
roams about uttering a melancholy cry: "Oh, poor 
me, lone one, oh I " 

" Yes, sah, um hab seen dis bery sperit, massa ; it 
take shape ob big gray bud, wiv great yeyes, roun' 


an' glassy, an' it fly saft, sah, saf t as silk, in de moon- 
light, an' it cry out at me, sah : ' Oh, poor me, lone 
one, oh I ' an' ma ha'r raise, sah, twell I get out ob 
de wood. Tell yo', sah, lemme said to yo', sah, ef 
yo' wants to feel dat dey is jumbies in dese wood, yo' 
mus' to heah dat same ' King ob de Wood ' when he 
hoot in some dark bailey. 

" Ha ! so yo' hab done heah him ? Yes, me massa, 
me can 'member dis a same bud, sah, which to say, 
him mek um feel like um jtidgmun' day was come, 
sah, de fus' time me heah um. It was in de t'ick 
wood, an' me come to a bailey 'tween two high moun- 
tain which make up; ribbah flow 'tween um, swif 
an' dark; aU trees oberhead make um black like 

" Lemme discose to yo', sah : dat sight make um 
feel like little chile ; me don' hab not'ing only ma 
gun; no dog, not one 'vidual t'ing; make um feel 
so bad ma head raise (hair rose up), an' me wish um 
safe out um dis wood. Well, lemme discose to yo' : 
me feel dat me mus' do sumt'ing, an' so um let um 
gun off — pam ! Dat mek um sperit recobah, sah ; but 
all at once me hear um King ob de Wood, * Who ? 
who?' An' me t'ink, ^Who, fo' shua, who am me 
who 'starb dis lonely place ? De good God A'mighty 
he no mek um t'ick wood f o' ole Tom Ned ; he mek 
um fo' King ob de Wood an' sich like ! ' 

" P'r'aps yo' neber heah ob de brack boy what got 
scare at de King ob de Wood ? No ? Lemme discose 
to yo'. He was a bad brack boy, sah, an' he hab been 
done steal some chicken an' aig, sah; de dark fin' 


him some way from he house, an' he hurry frou at he 
bes' lick. 

" All sudden like a solum voice hoot in he year : 
' Who ? who you ? ' He a'mos' fall down, he so 
frighten. But he say, * Me Samwell Jones, sah.' 

" De sperit mek no reply to he answer, only say 
'gin, ' Who ? who yon ? ' 

" De boy ha'r stan' up, an' he say, * Samwell Jones, 
sah, goin' home, sah, good massa.' 

" Nex' time de voice right ober he head, * Who ? 
who you ? ' an' sound lak it come from some deep and 
dismal grabe. De boy drap he aigs an' run tro' de 
wood a-hoppin'. ' Me ain' done stole no aigs, good 
massa ghos' ; it nudder boy wha' come 'hin' me ; he 
de one stole de aigs, massa ghos' ! ' " 

" Who stole de aigs ? " cried a shrill voice over our 
heads, as Thomas Ned concluded his story. "Ole 
Ned stole de aigs ! Ole nigger Ned stole de aigs 1 " 

It was Psittacus, of course, who had listened to 
the whole narrative. Thomas Ned rose as if electri- 
fied, and his hands quivered as he shook them at the 
audacious bird, leering at him from the rafters over- 

" Massa," he said, " me don' want do harm to any 
libin' t'ing in dis a house ; but it do seem dat it mus' 
be ne'ss'ry to twis' dat bud's neck, if yo' wan' git de 
debil out er him. He done know altogedder too 
much ; a little knowledge am a dang'rus t'ing, as dat 
ole raskil done fin' out some time 1 " 



" My Island was now peopled, and I thought myself rich in 
Subjects ; and it was a merry Reflection which I frequently made 
— how like a King I looked." — Crusoe. 

When Thomas Ned first came before me in the 
character of deliverer I did not closely scrutinize his 
appearance or apparel, being a steadfast believer in 
that old proverb, " Never look a gift horse in the 
month." But, when he proposed to remain with me 
as a servant and " Man Friday," I felt it my duty to 
have an eye to his vesture, as one bound to responsi- 
bility in his presentable appearance. It was more 
from poverty than preference that he was ill clad, 
and despite his rags he did not appear in filthy condi- 

He wore a shirt so very ragged that it hung from 
his shoulders in tatters and strings, and was evidently 
assumed, not so much for the service it rendered as a 
shirt, as out of deference to the demands of civiliza- 
tion. A reminder of a coat strove to hide the inner 
garment, but was, like its owner, a skeletonized apol- 
ogy, mainly consisting of detached pockets, filled with 



such odds and ends as the semi-savage negro delights 
to conceal about his person. Trousers, also, in the 
last stages of senility, through which the legs they 
made a pretense of incasing, were distinctly visible 
in numerous places, and which depended from an 
old leather belt around the waist. He had no shoes, 
but on his head wore a hat that it were better he had 
left in the ash heap, whence, doubtless, it had been 

The gun he carried was a single-barrel, body and 
soul — that is, stock and barrel — being held together by 
strings. The cur that trotted after and looked upon 
this tatterdemalion as master was a good specimen of 
the genus that is always found attached to the black 
man ; he had many good points, according to Thomas 
Ned, but it was beyond my power to discover them. 

As soon as I had sufficiently recovered to assume 
command in the cabin, I sent man and dog to the sea- 
shore, where I had some old clothes in a chest, and, after 
the man had divested himseK of his rags and taken a 
bath in the bay, re-enforced by a scrubbing on the 
sands, 1 gave him an entirely new and clean suit of 
Unen and duck. He had previously buried the old 
ones, but not without evident regrets, almost tearfully 
expressed, and had subjected the dog to a cleansing 
process ; so that the pair appeared, in the end, com- 
pletely transformed. 

Neither seemed at first very grateful for my at- 
tentions, but Thomas soon saw the wisdom of my 
work, and, like Friday, " Mighty well was he pleas'd 
to see himself almost as well cloth'd as his Master. 


He went awkwardly in these Things at first ; wear- 
ing the Drawers was very awkward to him, and the 
Sleaves of the Jerkin gall'd his Shoulders and the 
inside of his Arms ; bnt he soon got nsed to them." 

The enr was the most indignant, and resented the 
change in his master's apparel by growling and bark- 
ing at him, ref asing to recognize in that well-dressed 
man in white the quondam Thomas Ned. " Da dawg 
done know dat me hab no right to dress like buckra 
man," said the transmogrified Friday; "da dawg got 
heap ob sense ; he know me can't shoot de bud when 
me go 'roun' all slick up in da white close." 

I saw the sense of his remarks, and gave him 
another snit, half worn, of English tweed, which he 
declared more in keeping with his character as serv- 
ant and huntsman, and carefully stored away the 
white ones for Sunday wear. 

While we were at the beach, Friday gave me an 
exhibition of his agility, by walking up a cocoanut tree 
and gathering nuts enough to last us a week or more. 
Yes, he walked up ; he did not climb. He made a 
loop of a piece of rope, passed it around the tree and 
himself, and, bracing himself against this rope, he 
went up with ease. The tree was tall and the bole 
very straight and slippery, yet he climbed easily until 
he reached the lower branches. There arrived, he 
cast off the loop, drew himself up over the great 
bunches of cocoanuts and spathes, and commenced to 
hack away at the stems. He had stuck a large cutlass 
(a machete) in his belt, and as he ascended he pre- 
sented a comical sight, the machete sticking out like 


the tail of a monkey. Out of the respect I bear to 
Thomas Ned I will not pursue this simian simile far- 

GHthering cocoaoutB, 

ther ; but he wondered long why I fell on the sand 
and rolled in ecstasy of laughter. 

Having thrown down a lot of nuts, he descended 
quickly, took his cutlass in hand again, and clipped 
ofi the outer husk of one of them, trimming it to 


a point at the smaller end, and then, with a swift, 
dexterous stroke, cat it across, leaving a small hole. 
Through this I drew the cool Uquid, clear and sweet, 
which fills the ivory chamber within, in quantity 
nearly a pint, and was about to throw the empty shell 
away, when he caught it, with one blow cleft it in 
twain, and, chipping a spoon from the rind, handed 
it to me again, that I might scoop out the translucent 
jelly, which is considered a delicacy. 

Like all old negroes who have passed their lives 
in the shade of the cocoa palms, Thomas Ned was an 
adept at extracting from the best of the cocoanuts 
their hidden virtues, and well merited the praise I 
bestowed upon him for his skilKul performance. 
Having passed the better part of his life in the serv- 
ice of wealthy planters, he knew how to make those 
insidious beverages which serve the great men to pass 
away dull time in the tropics ; and, so far as our 
limited sideboard afforded the ingredients, he gave 
me the proof of his skill as a concocter of drinks to 
which, in my solitude, I had been a stranger. 

Thomas Ned was, like the majority of the blacks, 
very abstemious, and would not even partake of the 
beverages he prepared, except 'on unusual occasions ; 
his chief delight seemed to be in their concocting, as 
evidence of his honorable position in ancient times, 
when he was the plantation butler. He took the old 
r^ainer's delight in seeing his master enjoy the good 
things of life, even if he himself abstained; and I 
could not deny him such vicarious pleasure, although 
I felt constrained to check his desire to hasten me on 


a bibulous career, whicli miglit have landed me in 
a drunkard's grave, long ere this chronicle was con- 
cluded. Assuming, as he did, that I was a gentle- 
man, and therefore incapable of a vulgar lapsing 
into inebriety, he could not understand the meaning 
of my persistent refusal, except on the score of econ- 

In one of our long rambles we discovered a hidden 
valley which showed evidences of former cultivation, 
and held a grove of wild fruit trees, or which, as 
Thomas said, had "done turn Injun" — ^relapsed into 
a state of savagery. " I saw here abundance of Cocoa 
Trees, Orange and Lemon and Citron Trees ; but all 
wild, and very few bearing any Fruit ; at least, not 
then." Among them, also, we found some cashew 
trees, bearing a strange fruit, called here the acajou^ 
which I think is the Indian name. The fruit is of 
the shape of a pear, fragrant and full of juice, with 
the seed or stone hanging on the outside, in the shape 
of a kidney bean. We secured a large quantity of 
this fruit, and when we got home Thomas roasted the 
nuts, which were delicious, and at night he brewed 
another beverage, which he called " cashew drink," 
and insisted upon my tasting. 

The drink I found most refreshing was limeade, 

from the fruit of the lime, the juice mixed with water 

and sweetened with sugar, particularly during the 

period of my convalescence, which was protracted* 

during many weeks. One morning my Friday came 

up the" hill in great glee, bearing an armful of sticks 

with pronged ends, and stripped of their bark. " Look 


a da, ma massa, see de swizzle-stick me fin' down by 
da pon'." These sticks were slender and straight, 
each one with four or five prongs at the end, at right 
angles to the stem, and from their peculiar shape 
they are used as egg-beaters and mixers of beverages. 
They create, even in plain drinks, a peculiar froth, 
owing to the mucilaginous or saponaceous quality of 
the cambium layer covering the wood. 

From what I have said, it will be seen that Thomas 
Ned had installed himself as butler in my establish- 
ment ; and if it has not already transpired that he was 
in reality the chief in charge and the major-domo, 
I will set at rest all doubt and declare that he had 
usurped every function pertaining to the domestic 
economy of the household. 

It was as chef^ however, that he shone resplendent ; 
from the very firat he regarded my array of shining 
culinary utensils as his particular property, nor would 
he ever allow me to go near the kitchen under any 

. " Da kitchum ain' no place f o' genlemun like yo', 
sah; it am de mos' mysteriumest t'ing dat yo' ain' 
done kill yo'se'f, a-cookin' all by yo'se'f ; ef yo' ain' 
got 'spepsy it am a dispenshun ob Prov'dence. But 
me know how to cook ef um don' know an'ting else." 
And he did. Thomas Ned never boasted, but he had 
a fair knowledge of his abilities ; which, after all, is 
better than knowing too much, or knowing a great 
deal and at the same time not being aware of it. It 
was his delight, it was his glorious privilege, to solve 
the daily-recurring problem of not only what we should 


have to eat, but what we should have different from 
the day before ! 

My stores were scanty, as I have already men- 
tioned, before he invaded my premises; but there 
was no diminution in them after his arrival ; on the 
contrary, they positively increased. The flour was 
low in the barrel, but he augmented it by farine 
from the cassava root ; he hunted out the wild yam 
and the yeddo, and knew to a day the ripening of the 
tubers under ground, no matter ho\(^ they were con- 
cealed from human perception ; he grated the cocoa- 
nut, and made from its meat delicious pies and pud- 
dings ; he walked the beach for turtles, and we feasted 
on eggs and turtle steaks until that variety of food 
palled upon us ; he knew the best spots on the rocks 
from which to cast his line for fish ; the holes in the 
stream where lurked the fattest crayfish, and the holes 
in the earth in which lived the finest land crabs ; in 
short, he taught me that the earth could be made to 
yield a fatness of which I had never dreamed. 

And Thomas Ned knew many things, also which 
I did not. For instance, he knew how to lull the 
fierce-looking iguana to sleep and capture him. When 
he told me this I was at first incredulous, but he 
proved his statement by doing it. 

We found a big iguana, one day, feeding on the 
leaves of a mangrove tree. When the animal saw us 
coming it swelled out its gular sack, raised the spines 
along its back, and looked fiercer than ever. But 
Thomas Ned began whistling a tune, at the same 
time cutting down a " liaUne " vine, with which he 


made a slip noose. Louder and louder lie whistled, 
and finally the iguana's head drooped and it lay su- 
pinely along the branch. Then, still whistling, my 
" Friday " softly approached and slipped the noose 
over the reptile's head. It then awoke, of course, 
and lashed out wildly with its terrible tail ; but too 
late, for that night we had some of that same tail 
cooked for our supper. 

I was in danger of lapsing into a condition preju- 
dicial to the success of my projects ; of becoming soft 
and sybaritical, Thomas Ned so adequately supplied 
ray wants and anticipated my every need. To offset 
this luxurious living I hunted all the harder, taking 
longer walks, and ransacking the farthest limit of my 
domain. When I returned, weary and sore, Thomas 
Ned awaited me with a cooling drink, and later set 
before me a dish that he had been, perhaps, all the 
day conceiving and contriving. He insisted, also, 
upon doing all the taxidermical work while I was 
away, or while I wrote out my descriptions of our 
captures ; thus 1 was allowed more time in which to 
perform the higher duties of my life, and devote my- 
self to my books and the chronicling of these, my 
daily doings. 

It was a delightful division of labor, in which 
Thomas Ned did all the dirty work, and left me free 
for something more to my liking I Conscience and I 
had a wrestle on that subject and several " set-tos " 
before convinced that it was all the better for all con- 
cerned, I urging that it was of his own volition that 
he undertook this labor, that he was getting fat on it, 

KooaJDg ttie iguana. 


and was happy as a king ; in fact, happier than the 
average of kings, and wouldn't swap situations with 
the best of them. He had been bom to work, and I 
had not ; he liked work, no matter of what kind, as he 
couldn't discriminate, while I had my decided prefer- 
ences ; and, finally, if ever a man bom a stranger to 
another, without obligations to that other, ever loved 
that other more than Thomas Ned loved me, then all 
the signs were at fault I 

We had never raised the question of compensa- 
tion ; but, as he was a self -avowed pauper, and had 
not been able to accumulate anything in fifty years 
or so of work ; whereas he was now reveling in com- 
parative luxury, clothed and clean, I did not have 
any compunctions on that score. And besides, if it 
should come about that I should leave the island — 
an unwelcome suggestion which I never entertained 
without a shudder — of course Thomas Ned would 
then fall into my possessions as residuary legatee, so 
to speak. But not the shadow of such suggestion 
ever entered his honest old brain ; he was serving me 
loyally and happily, wholly from choice, and had at 
last, after years of rude buffeting, fallen into the very 
place his soul had craved all his life. 

It was a pleasure to watch his enjoyment, his per- 
fect trust in the rectitude of things, the ease and natu- 
ralness with which he went about his self-imposed 
labors. His chief delight was in smoking, and, as I 
had a small stock of tobacco, and cared httle for the 
weed except in ruminative moments, I abandoned it 
all to him; added to this, he made a find of the 


tobacco plant growing wild somewhefe, and no miser 
ev^er watched his gold as Thomas Ned did his hoarded 
supply and the prospective "smokes" on the stalk. 
The rains fell, and the sun came out after the show- 
ers ; the nights succeeded the days, and it was all the 
same to us, for we were busy and happy, each with 
his own employ. 

It followed as a matter of course, after the advent 
of Thomas Ned, that he took charge of mj planta- 
tion and assisted materially in the agricultural opera- 
tions, and latterly I had left the management of the 
garden chiefly to him, because of his special knowl- 
edge of the native plants and their culture. He had, 
indeed, manifested a desire to have me keep away 
from the garden, which I thought strange, but attrib- 
uted to nothing more than a natural desire to take 
sole charge of a work in which he particularly de- 
lighted. But one evening, as we were strolling 
through the garden, and noting with pleasure what 
great advancement the various plants had made, I 
came across something that made me turn upon my 
man Friday with a demand for an explanation. It 
was nothing more than a stick stuck up slantwise in 
the center of the garden, and dangling from the top 
a strange assortment of "trash," such as a parrot's 
head, a red rag, a halfpenny, and a small bag of 

I knew at first glance what this stuff signified : it 
was an Oheah cha/rm^ such as the African wizards use, 
to put a spell upon their enemies. This witchcraft 
of Obeah, a survival of the African serpent worship. 


is strong tliroughout the West Indies, and in fact 
wherever the negro lives isolated from the influence 
of the white race. 

I turned upon Thomas with a severe conntenance, 
and he, ahasbed, hung down hie head. "Don' tek 
dat a-eha'm to mean nufBn', maeea, fo' it am necuss'ry 

to pertect de gyarden. Lemme discose to yo', sah, 
dat um hab Been de footfalls ob a man on de sand, 
sah ; um don' tell yo', fo' don' want alarm yo', massa; 
but dat is de truf . Yis, sah, it am de truf ; an' um 


know dat a man done steal all de provision, ef nm 
don' put up Obeah cha'm. Fo' truf, massa, ef um 
don' let dat a man know dat um hab cha'm 'ginst him, 
he done run way wiv ebrytings we hab ; now he know 
it ain' no use, an' he done run way hisse'f. Massa, 
um hab ben locus (local) preacher mahse'f, an' um 
good Wes'lyun ; but lemme discose to yo', sah, dat 
dey is t'ings dat de buckra gospel can' mek head 
aginst, noway, an' de chiefest t'ing am dis same 
Obeah ; an' de splanashun am jes dis : de buckra 
'ligion am God's 'Hgion, but de Obeah am de debil's 
'ligion, so holp me truf 1 " 



A State of blissful content— We visit the old plantation— Scar- 
borough, the capital of Tobago— Entertained by the " Queen's 
• Own " and the Goyemor — A glimpse of Trinidad — At Golden 
Grove — The schooner on a coral reef— Corroboration of Cru- 
soe's story — The cave where Crusoe found the " old He-Goat " 
— ^Where the cannibals landed, and where Man Friday was 

It may be supposed that Man Friday and myself 
had frequent conversations regarding the resources and 
the people of the island on which I was camped, and 
canvassed thoroughly the advisability of inspecting 
the portion which was then unknown to me. Like 
myself, Thomas Ned shrank from any movement 
that would make known to the residents of the south- 
em end of the island our whereabouts ; not from any 
feeling of unsociability, but from a natural desire to 
remain undiscovered. We had attained to that state 
of blissful contentment, of perfect satisfaction with 
our surroundings, that permitted of no intrusion with- 
out a threatened disruption of the conditions creating 

We had both been so often buffeted by ill for- 
tune, had received so many kicks and cuffs from 



society, and bo many rude receptions in our endeavors 
to maintain ourselves as corporate members of the 
body politic, that no amount of persuasion could in- 
duce us to enter it again. Waifs from the outer edge 
of the world, we had been cast into an eddy of cahn 
by the very currents that threatened our destruction, 
and we saw in this the hand of an overruling Provi- 

My companion was truly alarmed when he found 
that I even gave heed to the thought of an experi- 
mental visit to the confines of the outer world. 
"Wha' fo' yo' done wan' fool wiv dose people, 
massa? Ain' yo' see da fingah ob de good Gora- 
mighty in all dis yar ? Ain' he done gib yo' all yo' 
want, mo' dan yo' need, an' powerful sight mo' dan 
yo' desarve ? " His lip quivered, his whole frame 
shook with emotion, and I could understand and 
sympathize with him. For more than fifty years he 
had been the sport of adverse circumstances ; he had 
been every man's slave and no man's care. Accept- 
ing his lot, as he had, with all the dumb forbearance 
belonging to his race, yet he had felt the cruelty, the 
unfairness of it all ! 

After those weary years of slavery, after the last 
hope had been drowned in despair, unexpectedly there 
had come to him this deliverance from servitude. 
His soul was glad with the assurance that his declin- 
ing years might be passed in a haven of rest, and his 
one desire was that nothing should occur to interrupt 
this serenity. But he was deeply grateful to me for 
having given him even these few months' surcease 


from care, and his loyalty to me and belief in my in- 
fallibility kept him from more than raising a shadow 
of objection. He was certain that an absence from 
our home would work disaster to our schemes, by 
directing upon us an irruption of the inhabitants of 
the other section, who would annoy us in many ways 
and finally compel us to. abandon the place. 

I entertained every reason for delay and carefully 
weighed all objections ; but finally, about midsum- 
mer, after the rains had spent their force, I concluded 
to set out on the journey of exploration. It was not 
as if we were going into an unknown region, for 
Thomas Ked knew every foot of the way, and our 
perturbation over the possible consequences of such a 
small undertaking may cause a smile on the face of 
the reader. 

But it is ever thus : when a man narrows his 
horizon and secludes himself from his fellow-men, he 
is thrown in upon himself, his thoughts dwell upon 
the little things of life, rather than upon the greater 
works of human hands. It was in the correction of 
this tendency, which I had latterly noted in myself 
with alarm, that I felt the journey would be beneficial. 

Well, after everything had been arranged, the 
captive agoutis and other animals set free, and Polly 
Psitticus had been informed that he was to keep a 
general oversight of the premises, we set out, one fine 
morning in July. It was agreed that we would not 
go direct to the coast, but avoid the negro villages 
and make for the plantation upon which Thomas Ned 
had passed his early years. As it was now in posses- 


Bion of a very worthy man, one whom Friday felt he 
could trust, and who would not betray our plans nor 
inform any one of our residence, we were safe in 
venturing that far, and if anything occurred to excite 
suspicion we could retreat upon our base of opera- 
tions again, without it becoming known that we were 


The scheme, which was Friday's own, worked 
beautifully. The second morning we were snugly 
domiciled beneath the roof of the " great house," and 
the manager, a big-hearted and stalwart Scotchman, 
was listening to my story and laughing heartily at 
our adventures. I should like to narrate my sensa- 
tions at again meeting one of my own race after so 
many months of seclusion; but events now crowd 
upon me so, hastening to a conclusion, that this will 
be impossible. 

Our friend and host promised to keep my secret, 
and, being a man of intelligence, with generous im- 
pulses, did not more than laugh at my scheme ; but he 
would not allow me to depart at once on my way to 
the southern end of the island, and we passed three 
days with him, all the time entertained like visiting 
princes from abroad. He insisted, of course, upon 
an unabridged narration of my adventure, and at its 
close congratulated me upon securing such a treasure 
as I possessed in the person of Thomas Ned, who had 
assumed his old position as butler and attendant j?r(> 
tem.^ and waited on us assiduously. 

The " great house " was situated in the center of a 
broad, spacious valley, with the sea in front, the hill 


on which the liouse was perched being some two 
hundred feet in height, and with low ridges radiat- 
ing in all directions from it to circumferential hills*. 
Straight down to the sea, a mile away, ran a road, 
lined on both sides with the huts of the laborers, 
with a stray palm here and there and a long row 
near the beach, which evidenced the former existence 
of that overarching avenue, of which its former 
owner so proudly wrote, over one hundred years 
ago, when this estate was called the " Louis d'Or," 
and the slaves were counted by hundreds. Great 
fields of cane were on every side, with varying tints 
of gold, and through them ran a river from the 
mountains, the hills above being cultivated to their 
very tops. Thousands of cocoa trees lined the beach, 
and a small drogher was lading with nuts, to be taken 
to Barbados. 

The distance to my destination was not great, but 
the time consumed in getting there was usually two 
days, and to cover it the manager loaned me a mule, 
while Thomas Ned awaited my return at the planta- 
tion. My object was to view the southern end of the 
island, where the outlook was over toward Trinidad, 
as that was an important piece of evidence in favor 
of this being the one-time residence of Robinson 
Crusoe. The manager assured me that it was just as 
related in the book, and that I might as well save 
myself the journey, for he himself had been inter- 
ested in the subject, and had made his own observa- 
tions, which confirmed the statement of Crusoe in 
every particular. 


To look through the spectacles of others was 
never my way; and, thanking him for his advice, 
and for the mule, I accepted the latter, and cantered 
away, leaving Thomas Ned waving me an adieu from 
the front veranda. Along the curves of beautiful 
beaches and through the sweets of a sugar-cane wil- 
derness I rode all that day, and finally arrived at the 
only town on the island, called Scarborough. Of itself 
this town has nothing to interest, but Nature has done 
the best it could to cover the wounds inflicted by man, 
and the miserable houses of which it is composed are 
for the most part hidden in groves of tropic trees.* 

Having a note .of introduction to an officer of the 
Queen's regiment, quartered on the hill above the 
town, I was there received with hospitality — for which 
all English officers are noted throughout the world — 
and allowed to rest for the night. From the fort 
above the town the view is superb, for the hills march 
down from the interior mountains in serried ranks, 
dipping here and there into dells and hollows, rounded 
into knolls and mounds, the only sharp outlines being 
those of the highest^ against the sky. 

In the landscape spread out before one here copse- 
wood and cane land hold about equal sway; wind- 
mills and cocoa palms (most of the former decapi- 
tated, and the leaves of the latter wildly beating the 
air in the breeze of afternoon, or hanging motionless 
in the calm of morning) are the most striking fea- 
tures in this wilderness of sugar cane. A windmill, 

* See frontispiece. 


the tower a truncate cone of stone, spread its four 
great arras, like a Greek cross, above a smooth, green, 
and luxuriant field. Wide-spreading tamarinds of 
finest green, broad, round-headed mangos of deeper 
green, grow out of the fields, and suggest coolness 
and shade, despite the tropic heat. 

But the most conspicuous tree, as it is the most 
graceful, is the cocoa palm, which lines the roads and 
lanes, springing up singly and in groups all over this 
fair landscape. Its columns sweep along the beach 
below, the grandest curve imaginable, stretching from 
the base of the hill on which the town is built to the 
extreme point of coral rock many miles away. Above 
the beach the palms lean in every direction, crossing 
and recrossing the coast road, and hang above the yel- 
low sand in such profusion that only now and then 
can be obtained glimpses of the humble huts that 
cluster beneath their shade. 

The outlines of Trinidad can here be seen, stretch- 
ing along the southwestern horizon ; some days it is 
green, with the colors of the cane fields distinctly visi- 
ble ; at which time, when it shows so clearly, there is 
reason to fear the coming of rain, for when it is clear 
to leeward, it is generally misty to windward, and as 
a consequence rainy. 

This island is visible from the heights above Scar- 
borough, as Crusoe himself describes : " And the 
Land which I perceived to the West and West South- 
west, was the great Island of Trinidad, on the North 
Point of the Mouth of the Eiver Oroonoque." 

The curve of the bay is at the right of the town, 


looking toward the sea, where a small stream crawls 
lazily over the sands, and the beach crooks like a 
scimitar around to Crown Point, some five miles 
away, smooth and hard, at low water, lined with 
cocoa palms and sea grapes. At its southern ex- 
tremity, where the island ends in a coral reef, at the 
time of my observation, sat, bolt upright, the hull of 
a stranded schooner. 

Accepting an invitation of the surveyor-general 
of Tobago, who sent me a horse, I galloped out to the 
Point one morning over the smooth, hard beach. The 
singing of the birds in the sea-grape thickets and the 
fragrance of the flowers there intertangled and car- 
peting the fields, made this canter one of the memo- 
rable outings of my life. Suddenly darting away from 
the smooth racecourse on the beach, my steed bore me 
through a hedge-lined lane, where his muffled hoof- 
beats caused the birds to scatter in every direction, 
leaving in the air fragmentary gushes of song as de- 
lightful as the melody of our own song sparrow in 
the North in the opening hours of an April morning. 
The lane lost itself, finally, becoming merged in a 
number of other tracks, and then the estate of " Golden 
Grove " lay before me, a level tract of several hun- 
dred acres, smooth as a floor and treeless, save for a 
few gigantic tamarinds and mangos and a littoral 
fringe of cocoa palms where it bordered on the beach. 

In the center of this verdant plain stood a fine 
large mansion, in the best style of old West -Indian 
architecture, with broad verandas spread out invit- 
ingly on every side. Here I was met by the proprie- 



tor, who had his horse ready saddled, and together we 
went over to the Point, after a short stay and a hmch- 
eon, three miles farther, where lay, or rather sat, a 
stranded schooner, called the " Jane Milloy." A 
large crowd of Tobagans had gathered there to pur- 
chase the spars and rigging of the abandoned vessel, 
which some fortmiate individual bought for fifty 
pounds — far less than the copper on her bottom was 

At the wreckage sale I met many interesting 
people, among them a local botanist and naturalist, 
who called my attention to the fact that the inter- 
stices of the coral rock were filled with pure asplial- 
tum, similar to that found in the celebrated Pitch 
Lake of Trinidad. As the two islands are here but 
twenty miles apart, and as this is on the extreme 
southern point nearest to Trinidad, it is more than 
possible that there may be some intimate connection 
beneath the sea. 

The coral reef is here visible a long distance from 
the shore, and yet the "Jane Milloy" was firmly 
cradled on the broad reef, less than two hundred 
yards from the beach of sand, in water so shallow 
that boys were wading out to her all the afternoon. 
It was a matter of wonder how she got there at all, 
so close to the shore. Her master said that he mis- 
took for the harbor light the torch flame of some 
men out fire-fishing, that stormy night in which his 
vessel went ashore. 

A striking peculiarity of the southern shore of 
Tobago is the extreme shallowness of the water,'where 


in some places one may wade two or three miles from 
the beach. My readers will recall Crusoe's vivid de- 
scription of this shallow sea ; and more forcibly than 
ever came to me the truthfulness of his narrative and 
the accuracy of Defoe's description and fullness of 
his knowledge when I saw sitting before me this ves- 
sel upright on the reef ! It was, you will remember, 
after Crusoe's crew had given the ship up for lost, and 
were driving before the tempest upon an unknown 
coast, as quoted in my opening chapter : 

" The Wave that came upon me again buried me 
at once thirty or forty Foot deep in its own Body, and 
I could feel myself carri'd with a mighty Force and 
Swiftness towards the Shore, a very great Way ; but I 
held my Breath, and assisted myself to swim forward 
' with all my Might. 1 was ready to burst with hold- 
ing my Breath, when, as I felt myself rising up, so, 
to my immediate Relief, I found my Head and Hands 
shooting above the Water. ... I strook forward 
against the return of the Waves, and felt Ground 
again with my Feet. I stood still a few Moments to 
recover Breath, and till the Water went from me, and 
then took to my Heels, and run, with what Strength I 
had, farther towards the Shore. But neither would 
this deliver me from the Fury of the Sea, which came 
pouring after me again, and twice more I was lifted 
up by the Waves, and carri'd forward as before, the 
Shore being very flat." 

Once safe on shore he fell down and gave thanks 
for his miraculous deliverance, but wondered that there 
should be no one saved but himself : '* For, as for my 


Companions, I never saw them afterwards, nor any 
Sign of them, except three of their Hats, one Cap, 
and two Shoes that were not Fellows." And the next 
morning: "I cast my Eyes to the stranded Yessel, 
where the Beach and the Froth of the Sea being so 
big that I could hardly see it, it lay so far off, and 
considered : ' Lord, how was it possible I could get on 
Shore ? ' . . . But that which surpris'd me most was, 
that the Ship was lifted up in the Night, from the 
Place where She lay, by the swelling of the Tyde, and 
was driven far up I . . . This being within a Mile of 
the Shore where I was, and the Ship seeming to stand 
upright still, I wish'd myself on Board, that I might 
have some necessary Things for use ; and a little after 
Noon I found the Sea so calm and the Tyde ebb'd so 
far out, that I could come within a quarter of a Mile 
of the Ship ... so I puU'd off my Cloathes, for the 
Weather was hot to extremity, and took to the 

Then followed his plundering of the ship and 
his subsequent adventures ; but I cite this much only 
in confirmation of the correctness of the narrative, as 
shown in the local features of the locality in which the 
wreck is assumed to have occurred. The stranding 
of the " Jane Milloy " was wholly fortuitous in its cor- 
roboration of the correctness of the story ; but it was 
an event that actually occurred, in April, 1878, and I 
am constrained to cite it to prove the verity of my 
own narration. It happened also while I was in the 
island of Tobago, as may be verified by reference to 
the records of the local government. 

(From tho tbird edition of Crusoe.) 
"The ship aecminic to aumd upright." 


Another confirmatory fact is, that at the head of 
Crown Point is a cave, known as " Crusoe's Cave " to 
this day, because of the tradition tliat Crusoe resided 
there. What he himself says about it may be here 
recalled : " The Place I was in was as delightful a 
Cavity or Grotto of its kind as could be expected, 
although perfectly dark." It was here that he found 
that old " He-Goat," whose eyes glared at him so 
through the darkness, and made him shiver with 

It was on one side of and near Crown Point that 
Crusoe's ship was stranded ; not many miles distant 
that he built his castle, with its cave attachment ; 
and in the hills beyond that he had his " Bower." 
But the place where he first saw the cannibals, where 
he discovered Friday, and where the Indians used to 
laiid, coming over from Trinidad, is a few miles dis- 
tant, to the north. It is called Courland Bay, and 
here the Indians dwelt — as evidenced by the many 
stone axes and arrowheads discovered here — where 
the rounded hills slope gently to the shore, where the 
coral ledges inclose delightful bathing places, and the 
waves lap quietly the yellow sands. 

Having secured the confirmation I sought — that 
the landing place of our hero was at or near this 
point, at the southern end of the island — my mission 
was accomplished ; I mounted my mule again and de- 
parted for the plantation. Previous to my departure, 
however, the Governor of Tobago, at that time, lieu- 
tenant-Colonel Frederick Gore (now deceased), invited 


me to dinner, where toasts were proposed, not onlj to 
the Qneen, bat to the President of the United States, 
I was then permitted to depart, no one knowing whence 
I came or whither I went — only that my ostensible 
destination was eastward. 



An old library — Crown land for Thomas Ned — A home for my 
man in his old age — A suspicious intruder — A new delicacy 
— Frog's legs on toast — Crapaud hunting — Manacous and 
armadillos — A fetich-protected American — The hurricane. 

The manager at the " great house " insisted upon 
my stopping with him a month, but we compromised 
on a week, although the temptations to stay were 
strong and numerous. In the first place, he had a fine 
old library, or the remains of one, such as the planters 
of the West Indies, in the rich and careless days of 
slavery times, used to order from London, giving 
their agents carte Uanche as to contents, but insisting 
on rich bindings and classical authors. Among the 
superabundant poets and novelists, however, I found 
some books on the history of the islands, and was 
particularly attracted by a manuscript volume refer- 
ring to the natural history of the West Indies. It 
need not detract from the merit of this work, I trust, 
if I acknowledge my indebtedness to this manuscript, 
which I have drawn upon for many names and de- 
scriptions of the birds, as given in the previous pages. 



Buried to the eyes in dusty papers and musty 
tomes, a week passed me by very pleasantly ; but at 
last, yielding to the force of Thomas Ned's sugges- 
tions, that our interests at the Hilltop demanded our 
return, I reluctantly started. 

The manager would have loaded us down with 
gifts, but we accepted no more than a few necessities, 
and one morning at dawn were at the edge of the 
forest belt again, headed for Hilltop. The resident 
negroes on the estate were very curious, and some of 
them may have followed us to ascertain our retreat ; 
but if they did we were not cognizant of it at the 
time, and the manager prevented them from actual 

He kindly settled my fears as to the tenure J 
might have acquired to the land, by assuring me that 
it was all crown land, in that section, and that, so 
long as I committed no actual depredations, no one 
could dispossess me. The wild lands of all the 
islands belonged to the Government, and are known 
as crown property, being open to acquisition and set- 
tlement on easy terms. As an American, and an 
alien, of course I could not acquire a title without 
long residence or purchase ; but, if I chose to assign 
whatever rights I might have acquired to Thomas 
Ned, that individual could retain the property under 
the squatter privileges. 

The manager, who respected the old man and was 
glad to find that he had a friend interested in his wel- 
fare, offered to procure the proper papers if I would 
assume the small expense incurred, by which the land 


about Hilltop and Seaside would be secured to him. 
This I gladly promised, and it was in a very happy 
frame of mind that we parted from our friend and 
took to the woods again. We slept that night at the 
cave where the peccaries had treed me, and the next 
day reached our hut on the hill. 

Everything was apparently as we had left it ; but 
Polly Psittacus, after wild demonstrations of deUght 
at our return, waddled up in front of me and said, 
bobbing his head with great solemnity : " Man here ; 
bad man here ! " This set Thomas Ned to looking 
about, and he soon confirmed Polly's statement by 
ocular evidence. 

^' It am fac', sho 'nuff ; somebuddy been hyar 
while we gone ; um see um track 'bout de house." 

" What um tell you ? " screamed Polly Psit- 
tacus. ^^ Bad man ; black man, same Thomas 

Friday ignored this aspersion, but he made a point 
in favor of his cherished superstition : " Massa, ef 
yo' only let um put jumbie cha'm on de do', den 
no brack nigger come nigh dat do', dat um tell 
you ! " 

There was nothing missing, so far as we could 
ascertain ; but it was evident that some one had been 
prowling about, probably with sinister motive, and so 
I told Thomas Ned that if he thought he could ade- 
quately protect us and our property by the use of 
jumbie charms, he was welcome to hang up as many 
as he pleased. And thus it came about, before sun- 
set that day, that I, an American and a Christian, had 


invoked the fetich of an African pagan to protect 
my property ! 

' It was with such a thrill of satisfaction, that even- 
ing, that I settled into my old familiar seat on the 
veranda and gazed oflE over the beautiful landscape ! 
This was now the one spot on earth to me ; there 
was none other like it, either for rest or happiness. 
As for Thomas Ned, his face shone with delight, 
his eyes dilated with wonder, that the good Lord had 
permitted two mortals like ourselves to " slice off so 
much ob happiness and tote it off yer inter de wil'er- 
ness all toe ourselfs." 

You see, it didn't take much to satisfy us ; or, in 
other words, we knew what we wanted, and were 
content when we had secured it. Or, to quote once 
more the philosophical Crusoe : " In a Word, the 
nature and experience of Things dictated to me, 
upon just Reflection, that all the good Things of this 
World are no farther good to us than that they are 
for our use ; and that whatever we may heap up to 
give others, wo enjoy just as much as we can use, 
and no more ! " 

Thomas Ned surpassed himself, at the second day's 
dinner. He confessed to me that he had been all the 
night before engaged in scouring the forest after a 
certain delicacy which he thought it contained and 
that I would like. What it was he would not say, 
but his wan appearance in the morning indicated that 
he had passed a night in the woods. After he had 
Ferved the soup that afternoon at dinner, he brought 
in a covered dish from the kitchen which evidently 


contained the closely-guarded treasure, for his month 
worked nervously and his eyes sparkled with anticipa- 
tory triumph. 

Kemoving the cover, he stood back to enjoy my 
surprise, which was real, and my praise, which was 
heartily bestowed ; for, temptingly disposed on slices 
of crisp brown toast, were those delicacies so sought 
by the gourmet and assiduously hunted by the French 
ch^ef when he wishes to crown some menu with glory 
— ^frog's legs ! . 

" Um tink yo' hke de crapcmd^ ma massa, an' me 
hunt all de night fo' um. Him berry hard to fin', 
lemme tell yo' ; but when um fin' um he fat, fat, fat, 
like yo' see um." 

The crapaud^ or great frog, lives in the woods in 
holes out of sight, coming out only at night, and to 
be successfully hunted must be looked for by torch- 
light. He is attracted by the light and hops toward 
it, uttering a faint squeak at the same time. The 
hunter picks him up and puts him in a bag, and then 
goes on for another. 

" Da' same crapaud, sah, him bery wise," said 
Thomas Ned. " Yo' neber heah 'bout de men what 
went roun' crapaud huntin', an' done pick up de same 
old crapaud de whole night t'rough? No? Well, 
den, dey was two men went out one night, t'inkin' 
f o' to fill um bag wiv fine fat crapaud. Dey go to 
local'ty where dey plenty crapaud, an' bimeby one 
see big fellow, he grab um, put um in bag, an' go 
on ; bimeby hear nudder one squak^ grab um, put 
he in bag, go on ; no sooner done turn roun' betV 


nudder one squak, he go back, grab urn, an' put uin 
in bag; so it was all de night t'rougli, twell come 
daylight dey stop to count up what dey fin'. An', 
massa, wha' yo' t'ink ? Well, sah, dat a bag done 
contain nuttin' 'tall ! Dey been jes a picfcin? up de 
same die crapaud all de night long I How it hap- 
pen ? Lemme discose to yo' — dat bag done hah hole 
in it / " 

In his search for dainties with which to supply 
my table, Thomas Ned became quite a nocturnal 
prowler, and, though I frequently let him know that 
his actions did not meet my approval, sometimes I 
went with him in order to gain a new experience. 
The native opossum, the " manacou," was his especial 
delight, as he shared with all his fellow-blacks their 
liking for its flesh. Not having that fondness for the 
animal myself, either as a living organism or a pro- 
spective cadaver, I always abandoned the manacou to 
Thomas's particular table. 

He grew fat on manacou and sweet potatoes, but 
he did not relax his endeavors to keep our larder 
well supplied and my notebook filled with items of 
interest. It was not long before the " youp " of the 
manacou ceased to be heard around the Hilltop, and 
we might have kept a coop of fowls without fear of 
its deadly depredations. 

And this occurred also to Thomas Ned, for one 
week after being absent during the space of three 
days he returned with a fine large cock and two hens, 
which he placed in a coop behind the house. They 
were the gift of our good friend at the great house, 


who sent a kind message of greeting and the prelimi- 
nary papers for the acquisition of the property. 

1 never knew before what a companionable bird 
the domestic fowl could be, nor how necessary to 
one's comfort in a situation similar to mine. Chanti- 
cleer woke us early every morning, to be sure ; but 
our mornings were made for enjoyment in those days, 
and we held it to his credit rather than his blame. 
His clear crow of defiance provoked replies from the 
wild and wary cockerricos in the treetops of the for- 
est below, and the morning air would ring with tlieii* 
challenge and counter challenge. Eggs and chickens 
followed in due succession, and thus a lively element 
was introduced into the domestic life at Hilltop. 

By refraining from discharging our guns on or 
near the hill, and by encouraging all the birds about 
to come to us for food, we soon had quite a flock of 
dependents, in the trees and under the eaves. A 
wood pigeon established herself, with her mate, in 
one of the palms, and there built a nest and reared 
her young ; and each family that once came here, 
like hers, became the nucleus for a little settlement 
of its kind. Under my eaves also, which was now 
become a haven of refuge for weak and persecuted 
birds of all kinds, a northern swallow made its winter 
home, bringing with it home memories and the asso- 
ciations of my boyhood. 

Tender thoughts these birds evoked, each one 
appealing to me in a different way. They became 
my companions, trusted me, even appealed to me to 
arbitrate their disputed cases ; as when one took a 


fine long thread for its nest which another wanted, 
apd in which the wings of both became entangled. 
By mutual consent, apparently, they fell at my feet 
and waited patiently for me to disentangle them, each 
one receiving and flying thankfully away with the 
half that I gave it ! 

One of the nocturnal animals frequently disturbed 
by my Man Friday, and to which I have not yet 
alluded, was the armadillo (the Tatuaia hyhrida\ an 
inoffensive creature that lived in holes of its own dig- 
ging. We used to hunt it on moonlit nights, and at 
these times Thomas Ned's cur dog came into action. 
The armadillo is a night prowler, but the first one I 
ever saw was early one morning at the top of the 
hill, sniffing about the sill of my house. 

The hill sloped steeply to the woods at that point, 
and when the animal saw me it just rolled itself up 
in its shell, like a scaly ball, and bounced down tlie 
hill at a rapid rate. When I arrived at the place 
where it had stopped rolling, expecting to be able to 
get hold of it (as it is a slow runner), I found nothing 
but a mound of fresh dirt, beneath which the arma- 
dillo was digging into the bowels of the earth much 
faster than I could hope to dig it out. 

As you know, of course, the armadillo is com- 
pletely incased in a suit of armor which renders it 
unassailable to ordinary animals ; it has a long, pointed 
snout, strong sharp claws, and a general make-up that 
particularly fits it for digging. It must be a smart 
dog that can catch up with one, once it has got those 
strong fore-feet at work ; and even with shovels and 


spades it is next to impossible to unearth one. It ia 
wary too, as well as strong, and frequently, while the 
pursuer is hard upon its heels, the armadillo will sud- 
denly counter upon hiui and dig back again and bur- 

The armadillo. Boiled up. 

row beneath the loose earth thrown out in digging, 
thus completely outflanking the expectant digger ! 

^Notwithstanding its Bkill in eluding the hunter, 
Thomas Ned soon had a pen full of armadillos and 
agoutis, over which he used to linger much of his 
spare time — not so much, I fear, from love of the 
animals themselves, as of their flesh in prospective 
banquet. The armadillo was not an obtruBive or 
troublesome animal, as its food was mainly insectiv- 
orous — beetles, grubs, worms — which it hunted by 
night and retired to digest in its hole by day. 

I told Thomas Ned about the great armadillo that 
used to roam the forests of South America in the qua- 
ternary period, and perhaps once inhabited this very 
island : the gigantic glyptodon, with its shell as big as 
a hogshead and body the size of an ox. He would 
believe anything I told him, generally, but this rather 


staggered his credulity. " Dis a hawg-in-amah yo' 
done spoke of mus' a live long time 'fore slavery time, 
sab, fo' um don' heah nuffin' 'bout um from ole massa, 
nor nobuddy. Ki ! what a t'ing dat a be toe meet in 
de wood ob a da'k night ! " 

He could hardly accept the glyptodon, but he cher- 
ished chimeras as gigantic as the fossil armadillo — ^a 
legacy from his African ancestors. We had many an 
argument over the existence of jumbies and were- 
wolves, loup-ga/rous^ blood-sucking vampires, and an- 
thropophagous wild men. Thomas Ned was a good 
Methodist, but he could not, from the very nature of 
him, but believe in the African fetichism. 

As he had a good comfortable belief of his own, 
being perfectly sure that everybody not believing as 
he did was in danger of " de buhnin' fiah," and a 
certain conviction that the doing of wrong always 
entailed retribution in kind, I did not seek to com- 
bat him in religious controversy. He never lied, I 
never heard him swear, he was scrupulously honest, 
and he was cleanly; I don't think he will find the 
balance greatly against him, when he comes to square 
his last account. If the great essential be to become 
as a little child, then Thomas Ned had almost at- 
tained it, for his faith was simple and certain. 

Our lives glided along without many ripples, but 
there came a day, or a night, when the stream was 
changed almost in an instant to a turbulent flood. 
The summer months drew near their ending, and 
the hurricane season approached, about the last of 



I remember how strangely oppressive the air was 
in the morning, and- 

*' As the hot day swooned into afternoon, 
Hotter and hotter grew the air, and soon 
All the northwestern space of sky became 
Heavy, metallic, where the heat did flame 
In quivering bronze, and the sea grew changed. 
Though moveless still, as though dark rivers ranged 
Purple and green and black throughout its deeps ; 
At times, as shudders come o'er one who sleeps 
And dreams of something evil, swiftly flew 
Across its face a chill that changed the blue 
To a sheet of beaten silver ; then again 
It slep4 on as before, but as in pain.'' 

Even as Crusoe describes the coming of the hurri- 
cane, so came that storm upon us — with a warning 
calm that, but for its oppressiveness, would have been 
no warning. But my Friday knew all the premoni- 
tory symptoms of the hurricane's advent, and has- 
tened to make everything snug and close before it 
struck us. A night only, it lasted, and barely that ; 
but what havoQ it wrought, what hopes of mine it 
blasted with a breath ! Our hilltop house was un- 
roofed early in the gale, and for six or eight hours we 
were exposed to a pelting rain ; two of my palms 
were beheaded, and all the rest denuded of their 
leaves — those graceful leaves, with which they used 
to fan the still air at noon, and extend a protecting 
canopy above my head. 

The hut at the beach was entirely swept away, 
but fortunately all our provisions had been brought 
to the Hilltop, and that night my Friday stayed there 


also. In the morning we looked around disconsolate 
upon the havoc the hurricane had created; its rav- 
ages were everywhere visible : great trees prostrate, 
acres of forest torn in shreds, immense chasms washed 
out of the hillsides, and large rocks torn from their 
positions and hurled into the beds of the streams. 



We lose many of our birds — How P0II7 cheated Thomas Ned — 
Man Friday digs out a dugout — Catching sharks with a fish 
for a fishhook — Barracoutas, angel, Jew, and parrot fish. 

The morning after the hurricane opened bright 
and shining, sunlight glancing from the newly washed 
leaves, and there was a freshness in the air that 
braced us to renewed endeavor. The restoration of 
our roof was no great task, and before night it was 
securely thatched ; but the damage to crops and pro- 
visions could not be repaired. As we made excur- 
sions into the woods, after the storm, we noted with 
grief that the disasters to animal life had been great, 
especially to the birds. The parrots and cockerricos 
seemed to have been nearly all destroyed. We found 
a few bedraggled specimens on the ground, with 
scarce strength enough to escape capture ; and as for 
the small birds, it was many days before any number 
appeared again about my door. 

But Nature is strongly recuperative. Even the 

humming birds, frail and delicate creatures, somehow 

resisted the gale, and came straggling back again. 



They probably were driven before the winds for 
many hundred miles, and many were lost in the rag- 
ing ocean ; but in the end the woods were again 
peopled with these gems of air. For three days after 
the storm we missed our Polly Psittacus, and I 
thought T detected Thomas Ned one day muttering 
under his breath that there was no wind so ill that it 
did not bring relief to somebody. He knew, how- 
ever, that I highly prized Polly Psittacus and that 
his loss would be deeply regretted, and so made no 
audible comment. 

But on the fourth morning we heard a chattering 
on the roof pole, and running out I was delighted 
and Thomas Ned disgusted at the sight of dear old 
Polly. He was as pert and chirrupy as ever, and 
saluted us with a nonchalance that was delightful. 
" Bon jour^ messiev/rs^^ he said, while preening his 
feathers carefully, as though the matutinal greeting 
had suffered no material interruption. ^' Beaucoup 
pluie! Plenty rain. Polly hungry." He hopped 
down and took his customary place at table, silent, 
but evidently big with important news, which his 
restricted mental equipment did not permit him to 

" De same ole Jimcrack," muttered Thomas Ned ; 
" da bery same ole rasMl ; de win's done blow, an' de 
stawm done rage, but de debil he know he own; 
nuttin' done touch ole Jimcrack I But, whar yo' 
wife, eh ? " Polly looked up from devouring a ba- 
nana, as though that was something that had occurred 
to him, also. He scratched his head, turned it aside. 


as if to drop a silent tear, and coughed. Then he 
winked one eye at Thomas Ned ; at least, he drew 
down the nictitating membrane slowly, deliberately, 
and having thus " wiped his eye," as it were, went on 
with his breakfast. 

He was discreetly uncommunicative on that point, 
and Thomas Ned turned to me triumphantly : " Wha' 
um done tell yo', massa ? Um say dese bery wo'ds : 
dat Jimcrack git red ob he wife de fust oppertunumty ; 
an' now he done jesso." Polly said nothing, but I 
really believe he understood it all, for he winked 
again, this time at me, but went on eating his banana. 
After the meal was finished he begged to be excused, 
by bowing low and retreating backward, and flew up 
to the denuded palm tree, where he uttered a loud 
call-cry. It was answered instantly, and out of the 
woods came no less a personage than Mrs. Polly Psit- 
tacus, who had evidently been in hiding for the de- 
nouement of this very scene, in which her sagacious 
husband so neatlv turned the tables on Thomas Ned. 
They flew down to the table, bobbing and bowing 
most ludicrously, Mrs. Polly wild with delight at see- 
ing me again, and Mr. Polly just on the point of 
bursting with pride and unportance. 

As for the discomfited Thomas Ned, I fear he 
did not participate in the joy of reunion. It is easy 
to forgive one for turning out worse than we have 
predicted ; but it is altogether different when one 
turns out better 1 

One by one, the most of our scattered family came 
straggling back, until all were re-established in their 


respective quarters ; all but the most important of 
our choristers, the mocking bird. His dainty wife 
came to visit us, peering anxiously into the house and 
under the eaves, but without finding the object of 
her search, and after sitting about dejectedly a few 
days she left us altogether. No, not altogether ; I 
mean she left us as a widow, but less than a week 
later she returned as a bride. The husband she 
brought was equally as fine in appearance as Mimus 
number one, and they shamelessly took possession of 
the same old quarters ; but the songs he sang did not 
seem to me so sweet as those with which our first 
friend used to greet the mom and dismiss the set- 
ting sun. 

The crops I had so providently planted, months 
before, were now coming to maturity — ^the arrow- 
root, tannia, cassava, etc. — and down by the pond we 
erected a primitive arrowroot mill, and made a big 
oven for the drying of the " f arine." 

In the preparation of the f arine we observed great 
care, for upon it we depended mainly for our farina- 
ceous food in the future. The roots were first scraped 
carefully and washed, then grated on a wheel which 
Thomas Ned had rigged to revolve by water power, 
against the rough surface of which the roots were 
pressed. The cassava contains a very poisonous juice, 
and to extract this we used the Indian baskets, which 
are simply long cases of woven strips in the shape of 
a cone. Filling these cases or cones with the coarse 
meal, they are then short and corpulent ; hanging 
them to the limb of a tree, with a weight attached to 


the lower end, the juice is gradually expressed, and 
the cone becomes elongated. This cone is an Indian 
invention, in use in South America and the West 

The pulp or meal is then sifted, to remove the 
woody fiber, and heated over a wood fire, in order to 
carry away the slightest trace of the poisonous juice, 
which is dissipated by the heat. This was the f arine, 
or cassava meal, and of this we stored away several 
barrels ; also from some of the grated cassava we 
made starch, and from the juice itself a delicious 
tapioca, but only a limited quantity. 

Even then we had not obtained all that was pos- 
sible from this useful product, for Thomas Ned had 
yet another surprise in store for me, when he boiled 
down the juice to the consistency of molasses and 
produced thereby the celebrated cassareep. This is 
the basis of the famous pepper-pot of the West In- 
dies, for the inspissated juice has such antiseptic prop- 
erties that it will keep meat and vegetables fresh for 
months, and into the pot in which the cassareep is 
kept pieces of chicken and other meats are thrown, 
from time to time, forming a savory mess greatly 
relished by the natives. 

Thus we utilized all the virtues of our vegetable 
production, extracting honey, as it were, from every 
substance. The work on the cassava and arrowroot 
mill kept us busy till near the end of the year. With 
December was ushered in the last of the twelve 
months to elapse since my arrival here. I had ex- 
perienced every vicissitude of season and had under- 


gone some hardships ; but my ardor wsfi still unabated, 
and I continued to enjoy the simple pleasures of my 
isolated life. 

My study of the birds had been extensive, but by 
no means exhaustive, and, notwithstanding I had 
catalogued nearly all the resident feathered inhabit- 
ants of the island, I had not learned all there was to 
be known about them. My desire for information 
was insatiable; even if I could exhaust the birds, 
there were other studies open to me in the realm of 
Nature, such as botany, conchology, archaeology. A 
lifetime would be too short in which to exhaust all 
the resources of my island home. 

It was about a week after the hurricane that 
Thomas Ned came to me with an expansive grin on 
his face, which I knew from previous experience be- 
tokened some new surprise. " Massa," he said, " you 
no wan' go a-fishin', dis a fine day ? " 

I admitted that it might be an agreeable diver- 
sion, and he led the way to the beach where my hut 
had stood. As we reached the stream, across which 
we had to leap to gain the beach, I noted Thomas Ned's 
grin become, if possible, yet more vast, and following 
the direction of his glance, saw floating in the land- 
sheltered bay a fine " dugout." Then it was apparent 
to me what my man had done with all his spare time, 
the past few weeks. He had spent it in cutting down 
and hewing out this canoe. It was really a fine one, 
and I praised it until I had exhausted my vocabulary, 
and set Thomas Ned upon a pinnacle of delight. 

" Ah, me massa, me t'ink um lak canoe, an' so me 


mek um fo' yo'. S'pose yo' try um, while me ketch 
de fish fo' fish wiv ! " 

He drew out a pair of paddles from beneath the 
bamboos and then set me afloat in the canoe, which 
behaved beautifully and skimmed like a bird over the 
water of my placid bay. When I turned toward shore 
again I found Thomas Ned with a bucket full of small 
fish, the largest of which was about the size of a big 
mackerel. He had turned them out from the rocks 
at the bottom of the pond, where they had attached 
themselves by peculiar sucking-disks on the tops of 
their heads ; for these fish were those strange remoras^ 
which have the faculty of affixing themselves to any 
object they please. 

" But what are you going to do with those worth- 
less fish ? " I asked. " They aren't fit to eat ; didn't 
you know that ? " 

" Yis, me massa ; but dey's fit f er somet'in' else. 
Dey's what um ketch de big fish wiv, sah." 

I didn't like to expose further ignorance to my 
servant, so asked no more questions. We were soon 
at the inner edge of the coral reef, on which I had 
been nearly wrecked the year before, and there I saw 
what a rich fish preserve I had in this inclosed bay. 

There were swift-swimming barracoutas, rainbow- 
hued Jew and angel fish, immense sharks, and lazy 
sea turtles without number, hundreds and thousands 
of them, and all visible in the clear water above the 
white and glistening coral bottom. 

Eeaching into the bucket Thomas Ned drew out 
one of the fish therein and looped a line around its 


tail ; then he dropped over both fieh and line, and 
handed one end of the latter to me. It was well 
that the other end of that line was made faet to 

might aa well have tried ■* ^^^ ^"^ " Ssh-hook. 

to pnll in the side of a ship, 

" Gracions me I " I said to the old man, " it must be 
a whale or a big shark, for I can't move it a foot." 


^But between the two of us we finally got the fish 
at the other end up in sight, and I found that my 
finny friend had affixed himself to a shark about eight 
feet long. He was too big to try to coax into the 
boat, and I made up my mind that if he did try it I 
would get out. He had a mouth as broad as the big- 
gest watermelon I ever saw, set with teeth as sharp as 
needles, around a cavern that looked Uke the top of a 
well. But, big as he was, my httle fish held him until 
we got them near the surface, when Thomas Ned 
whacked him over the head with a club and took him 
into the boat without any trouble. I noticed that as 
soon as they reached the surface my live bait let go 
his hold and swam away. 

Well, in less than three hours we had all the fish 
we could carry back in the canoe, and then I proposed 
that we should set these tireless fishers free ; which we 
finally did, and I had the satisfaction of seeing them 
swim off without any lines attached to their tails, and 
presumably go a-fishing on their own account. 

This fish, which is put to so strange a use, is called 
the remora, and is supposed to be the same that stopped 
the vessels of the ancients by attaching itself to their 
bottoms, like a barnacle. This it does, at any rate, by 
means of the powerful sucking-disk on the top of its 
head ; and not only to vessels, but to other fish, as we 
have seen. It will not let go its hold, unless exposed 
to the air, no matter how hard one may pull at its 
tail, and this adhesive quahty has been utilized by the 
fishermen in these islands, ever since the time Colum- 
bus came here. That navigator makes mention of it, 


and hia son wrote that he aaw the Indians of Cuba 
catch large turtles with the remora. Sir Walter 
Baleigh also describes this manner of fishing most 
quaintly, as he saw it practiced in these very waters : 
" Now shall you heare," he says, " a newe kind of 
fishinf;. Like as we with grayhounda do hunt the 
bares, so do they, the Indians, as it were, with a hunt- 

Uemonia and shark. 

ing fish take other fishes. This fish was of a shape 
like unto a great eel, and had hanging on the hinder 
part of its head a very tough skin, like unto a great 
hag or purse. This fish is tied at the side of a boat 
by a cord, let down so far into the water that it 
may reach the keel of the same, close to which it 
lieth until it espieth any great fish or tortoise, when it 
maketh for it as swiftly as an arrow, and so graspeth 
its pray with that purse of skin that no man's strength 


is sufficient to unloose the same, except by little and 
little, he drawing the line, it be lifted above the brim 
of the water, where it immediately letteth go its 

I don't know how many fish we might have caught, 
but as it was I had the pleasure of gloating over two 
sharks, three barracoutas, four Jew and angel fishes, 
and several brilliantly-colored parrot fish, after we 
reached the shore, besides a turtle of goodly size. 

While Thomas Ned was cleaning the fish, after we 
had gone ashore, I wandered down the beach with 
my gun and butterfly net through the thicket of sea 
grapes, where, among the racemes of creamy flowers, 
I often found many birds, attracted by their honey 
and the hovering insects. The first bird I shot 
there was a black and yellow "sugar-eater," which 
fell into a dense cluster of sea grapes. As another 
bird attracted me just then, I departed in pursuit of 
it, merely pausing long enough to note where the first 
had fallen. 

^ When I returned, a few minutes later, I could 
not find it ; but as I was peering through the leaves, 
which cast a flickering shade on the snowy sands, I 
saw a large lizard, with one foot raised, intently watch- 
ing me. Looking closely I saw that he had appro- 
priated the bird I had shot, had stripped it of its 
feathers, and was hastily devouring it when I had 

A tuft of feathers stuck to his nose, which he 
vainly endeavored to scratch off with the claws of 
one foot, at the same time eying me suspiciously, as 


if aeldng what I wae going to do about it. He pre- 
sented snch a comical siglit and was bo mpremelj 

andaciouB that I was about to move away and let 
him enjoy his feast unmolested, when another object 
drew my attention. 


Descending upon the lizard by long leaps, out of 
the grape branches appeared a large bird-spider, with 
hairy legs and formidable beak. Before I could 
interfere, it had seized the reptile behind the neck, 
and then ensued a struggle for life. It was short, 
however, and soon the lizard was lying lifeless across 
the body of the bird, and both victims were the 
spider's prey. 




A search for novelties — How the world has changed — ^The great 
jabiru — Pearls at Man-o'-war Bay — Exploring the coral caves 
— In the grasp of a devilfish — ^A grave beneath the palms — 
Friends come for me, and I leave paradise. 

One can not be a-fleld anywhere, in forest or by 
shore, without seeing something worthy of observa- 
tion and making note of it. The difficulty with those 
who are best at observing is, that they see too much — 
more than they can readily communicate. 

Now, it must not be thought that, because I only 
describe a few of the birds, beasts, and fishes that fell 
in my way, there were not many more well worthy of 
notice. This age, as you know, is very different from 
that in which Crusoe lived, when every inhabitant of 
a far-distant land was novel to English readers, when 
the present school of naturalists was unknown, and 
before even the great Linnaeus and Buffon had stirred 
the world with the knowledge of their discoveries. 

Facts then unpublished, unknown, are now com- 
mon property of the veriest tyros of science ; aud os 

for adventure, every boy has been sated with it in all 

234 I 


its protean forms, by fire, flood, field and sea. Noth- 
ing now remains for the writer of that class of fiction 
that human ingenuity can suggest or desperate wits 

This being so, how can I expect to excite interest 
in my homely narrative of everyday doings, unless I 
pick out all the plums in my pudding and set them 
before the literary Lucullus all in a row ? How, 
indeed ? And, dear me ! the " plums " of adventure 
in real life are so very few, and the days when one 
has no adventure at all worth the telling so very many, 
that the task seems discouraging I 

Now, of the one hundred and fifty birds in my 
island, every one was to me extremely interesting ; 
but to one who has not seen them there, sporting in 
the trees and singing in the shrubs, they can not, of 
course, seem so attractive. A whole host of feathered 
claimants appears before me, when I try to summon 
from the .chambers of memory those I have seen in 
their haunts and place them before my readers in 
order of attractiveness. 

The family most fully represented, perhaps, was 
that containing the " waders," such as the herons and 
bitterns, and those most attractive of water birds, the 
gallinules. These last are about a foot in length, with 
eyes bright crimson, a beak painted vermilion tipped 
with yellow, and a frontal plate, like a shield, be- 
tween the eyes, pale blue in color. The largest speci- 
men of the wader family ever seen here is the jabiru, 
or great South American stork, which probably wan- 
dered hither from the savannas of the Orinoco. It is 


common in the French colony of Cayenne, where it is 
known as the " tou-you-you," and in Paraguay, far to 
the south, it is called ^^ai-ai-ai," both names being 
derived from its cries. 

For both birds and information, I searched long 
and hunted hard, while the weather was good ; but 
after the days of rain came on and prevented me from 
unrestricted roving in the woods, I sat contentedly 
before the fire of fragrant cedar wood in my Hill- 
top house, and, while the wind howled and the rain 
fell in torrents, pored over my books and manu- 

During the rainy days Thomas Ned sat modestly 
apart, at the end of the house to which the kitchen 
was attached, and wove baskets and nets, skinned 
birds, and made opossum traps. He rarely spoke un- 
less I addressed him ; but he was always alert for in- 
formation, and one evening begged me to read him 
something from my books. So it came to pass that I 
frequently read to him, chiefly from the voyages of 
Columbus and other navigators of these seas. 

He was particularly interested in the account by 
Columbus of the Indian pearl fisheries of Margarita, 
not far away to the southwest of us. It was in the 
year 1499 that the first pearls were taken by white 
men, from the Indians of Margarita and Cubagua, 
who were found wearing strings and ropes of these 
precious sea products. 

For more than two hundred years the Spaniards 
worked these pearl fisheries, and in one year, that of 
1587, sent home to Spain more than one hundred and 



sixty pounds of pearls, of great size and extraordinary 

All this information Thomas Ned received with 
open mouth and bulging eyes. " An' do yo' mean, 
me massa, dat ole man C'lumbus done foun' all dose 
puhls right down heah, in de island wha' we can 
a'mos' see from de mountain yander ? " 

"Well, not Columbus exactly, but his countrymen 
and companions. But they were found there, mil- 
lions of dollars' worth, and probably many millions 
more were spoiled by the ignorant natives, who bored 
holes through them by means of fire and wore them 
as necklaces." 

" Now, me massa, 'sense me, but wha' dis a puhl 
look a like ? He look somet'ing lak ister, don' it ? " 

" Yes, the pearl itself is found inside an oyster, or 
rather of a moUusk belonging to the oyster family. 
But why do you ask ?" 

" Why me axes yuh, massa ? Come wiv me, an' 
me done show yuh why me axes dat a ques'ion. Um 
t'inks um know whar' 'bout dat a puhl libe, right heah 
in Man-o'-wah Bay." 

It was a beautiful morning ; there was nothing in 
particular to do, so I followed Thomas Ned to the 
shore and into his dugout, which he paddled swiftly 
out to the inner edge of the coral reefs. 

Arrived there, he threw overboard the killock, 
thus anchoring the canoe, and then stripped himself 
for a plunge into the sea. 

" Now, me massa, yuh set right dar, an' don' do 
nuffin' but watch. Even ef a shahk 'pear on de scene, 


don' yo' min' um, 'cause him no 'starb ole niggah lak 
Thomas Ned. But, me massa, ef you see any sign ob 
debilfish yo' pull me up quick, quick, 'cause dat a 
debilfish him mo' pow'ful dan fawty shahks." • 

I promised him I would keep a sharp watch, and 
giving into my hands the end of a line which was 
fastened around his waist, my black friend dropped 
qnietly into the water. The water of the coral -bot- 
tomed bay was clear as crystal, and I followed 
Thomas Ned in his descent until he arrived at a sea 
garden imder the ledges, where the waving leaves of 
marine plants hid the shell-strewn sands. He had a 
long, sharp knife in one hand, and I saw him sud- 
denly stoop and slide the knife beneath a mass of 
shells and kelp, and then he signaled me to draw him 
up. I pulled him up, and when he arrived at the 
surface he tossed in the mass with one hand, while 
with the other he clung to the gunwale. His breath 
was nearly gone, but after a minute or so he had re- 
covered it and then climbed into the boat. Seizing 
hold of the shell mass he, with his long, keen knife, 
dexterously detached the oysters separately. Select- 
ing the largest oyster, he carefully opened it, reveal- 
ing its inner surface, shining and nacreous, like a large 
mother-of-pearl. This he handed to me, and with 
a smaller knife I removed the fleshy mantle, and there 
before our wondering eyes lay a pearl of goodly size ! 

Thomas Ned's eyes shone like diamonds, and he 
nearly fell into the water while executing a caper in 
honor of our discovery. " Me massa, wha' me done 
tell yuli ? Dat a puhl, shuah 'nuff, ain't um ? " 


I assured him that it was, and bestowed upon him 
the praise that was his due, at the same time trying to 
prevent him from going into the water again. But 
he was not to be restrained. " Why, me massa, ef 
dey's one big puhl down dar, dey mus' toe be 'nudder, 
ob co'se. TJm don' wan' um mase'f, but dey's fine 
t'ings f o' buckra lak you is, so me git um." So over 
he went, and the next moment was groping again 
among the coral gardens for their most precious pro- 

I lost sight of him for a second as he plunged into 
a deep grove of sea plants, and as I was peering over 
the rail I suddenly felt a tug at the line. It was a 
quick jerk, and undoubtedly meant something, so I 
began to pull in with all my might. But after a few 
fathoms had been drawn in I found it impossible to 
haul another foot, for it seemed as though a ton 
weight was attached to the lower end. And still 
Thomas Ned was not half clear of the seaweed gar- 
den ; his head only was in sight, his hands and limbs 
evidently held down by some invisible weight or at- 

I felt then that something terrible had happened, 
and that the life of my faithful servant depended 
upon my instant action. There was but one thing 
I could do, and that was to pull him out of the water 
before he should be suffocated and drowned. And 
so bracing a foot against the gunwale I took a bight 
around both hands and pulled with all my strength. 
Then the strain relaxed a bit, and gradually I lifted 
him toward the surface ; but it was a dead weight I 


was hauling and not a living body. I felt my heart 
sink at the thought of what might have happened 
to him, but that only put new strength into my 
hands. At last his head appeared, then a hand, above 
the surface. I made fast the line and stooped over 
the rail to haul him in with my hands, when I was 
suddenly seized by a clammy tentacle, and knew theil 
that we were in the grasp of a devilfish I 

Thomas was unconscious and could render me no 
assistance ; his body and limbs were inclosed within 
the tightening grip of the devilfish. His long knife 
was still clutched in one nerveless hand, and, despite 
the danger of being inclosed by another hideous arm, 
I reached over and seized it. Then, quick as I could 
turn, I severed the tentacle that had clutched me, 
and one by one the slimy arms that surrounded my 
friend's Hfeless form. 

The devilfish made a terrible fight, grasping the 
gunwales of the canoe, and reaching over after me, 
rearing its horrible death's-head, with its demoniacal 
eyes, close to my face. But, evading somehow its 
every movement, I severed, one after another, the 
ligatures, that squirmed and crawled like living ser- 
pents, until at last Thomas Ned was free. The 
mutilated devilfish sank back into the coral cave, its 
horrid eyes fixed on me to the last, bestowing on me 
a mute assurance that when its limbs should be grown 
again it would exact revenge and take a full requital 
for its wounds. 

But I gave it no more thought now, for my 
friend needed my attention. I drew him into the 


boat, limp, apparently lifeless, and for half an hour 
worked over him, trying to win back the breath of 
life. Then, having made no progress, I ent the 
anchor rope and hastened for the shore, where I 
stretched him beneath the palms and renewed my 
efforts. At last a feeble flutter of an eyelid rewarded 
me ; but the grayish pallor of the honest face caused 
my hopes to sink, even as a faint whisper issued from 
the ashen lips : 

" Me massa, dis — am — de — las' call f er — Thomas 
— Ned. God — ^bless — bless — massa ! Bury me — ^near 
— de seaside house, — massa. T'ank de good God 
— um — go — fus'l Me 'fraid dat — dat — ^um leab — 

He groped aimlessly for something, his eyes fast 
glazing, finally found and seized my hand, drew it to 
his lips, and so passed away — devoted, faithful, to 
the very last. 

Next day at simset I placed him in the grave I 
dug beneath the palm trees where the hut had stood. 
My heart was sore and heavy, for I felt that one 
tie had been severed that had bound me to this 
spot. Until death comes into our experience we 
have • no conception of the true range and scope 
of life — its depth and breadth. Until this happens 
to us we are like to take but superficial views of 
our responsibilities and surroundings; after this 
happens our horizon widens and our sympathies ex- 

Thus it was, perhaps, that, deprived of his com- 
panionship, humble though it had been, I was now 


less content to dwell here apart from tlie world. 
Everything about me took on a somber tinge, despite 
the golden atmosphere of this land bo near the sun. 
Even the living things — the parrots, the mocking 
birds, the vivacious wrens — seemed to be aware that 
some great calamity had happened. There seemed 
to be a mournful cadence in the song birds' notes, 
and even Polly Psittacus was hushed and subdued. 

The grave beneath Ihe palms. 

He noticed our friend's absence, for he went from 
house to kitchen, head hanging down, and with 
a solemn air; but he was now a bird of tact and 
discretion, and if he felt either grief or joy at 
Ned's departure, he had the good sense not to speak 
of it. 

So I became restless, and anxious to leave this 
paradise which at the first had held so much of 
promise, so much of pleasure. The substance of 
things had not changed; but everything was now 
tinged with the melancholy of a terrible happen- 


ing. And I had begun bo bravely I I had re- 
solved here to live out my life, to spend it in the 
search for truth. This island was to have been my 

But at last there came a day — I remember well 
its brightness and the sweetness of the air — when the 
choice was offered me to leave or stay. A vessel 
sailed around the promontory and dropped anchor 
behind the coral reefs. I knew then that the end of 
my dreaming was at hand, that my friends had^ come 
for me. 

It matters not why, but I went ; and that was 
years ago. But even now I often find myself sigh- 
ing for the home on the Hilltop, for the trusted 
friends I found there, and living in retrospect the 
time when, in the words of Crusoe, " I wanted noth- 
ing but what I had, and had nothing but what I 



As Tobago's history is intimately connected with the 
growth of colonial possessions in the West Indies, and as 
its condition at the time in which Defoe wrote may have 
had much to do with his choosing it for the residence of 
his hero, I trust the following chronological notes will 
not be unacceptable to the general reader and to the stu- 
dent of history. They are taken (those that refer to To- 
bago) from the History of Tobago, by H. lies Woodcock, 
Esq., formerly a judge in that island. 

In parallel columns, will be given contemporary data 
that have to do with persons and things mentioned in our 

It may be difficult for one to transport himself in 
imagination to such an obscure island as this little speck 
in the Caribbean Sea, but it will soon be shown that it 
has exercised a great influence, not only in the history of 
the world of fact, but in the world of Action. 


tobago. selkirk and crusoe. 

i^^.— Tobago probably dis- 1520-' 23. —Bhipwreck and 
covered, as Trinidad and subsequent adventures of 

Grenada were, by Colum- Alonzo Cuaco, three years 
bus, on his third voyage. on a desert island. 





i6j?5.— Attempted settle- 
ment of English!} from 
Barbados ; repulsed by 

1632.— Two hundred i)er- 
sons arrived from Hol- 
land. They found no in- 
habitants, and they plant- 
ed a colony and named 
it New Walcheren. " The 
Spaniards of Trinidad, 
fearing the new settlers 
would penetrate their se- 
crets in exploring the 
banks of the Oroonoko, 
which was thought at 
that time to contain beds 
of gold, determined to ex- 
tirpate these unwelcome 
neighbors, and, enlisting 
in their cause the savages 
of Trinidad and the can- 
nibals of the continent, 
killed most of them. The 
remainder fled, and To- 
bago was left to solitude." 

1642.— The next attempt 
was in 1642, by James 
Duke, of the small but 
independent state of 
Courland, on the Baltic? 
but since merged into the 
empire of Russia. His 
people landed on the 
northern shore of the is- 


1563. — Juan Fernandez 
[Spanish navigator] dis- 
covered the island which 
now bears his name. 

About the Middle of the 
Sixteenth Century. — Ro- 
mantic adventures of Pe- 
dro Serrano, who was 
wrecked on an island in 
the Caribbean Sea. Lived 
there alone seven years, 
subsisting upon turtle and 
shellfish, and allaying 
thirst with water caught 
in shells of the turtles he 
slaughtered. By rubbing 
together two sticks, In- 
dian fashion, he made a 
fire, which he tended with 
assiduous care lest it 
should leave him. At 
the end of a few months 
he was entirely naked, 
and remained in a nude 
state seven years. When 
finally rescued he was 
covered with long hair, 
and in this state was ex- 
hibited before the court 
of Spain. He was pen- 
sioned and sent to Peru, 
but died on the voyage 
at Panama. The narra- 
tive of his adventures was 
published in G-arcilasso^s 




land, which they called 
Courland Bay, a name it 
still retains. In 1658 this 
colony was taken by the 
Dutch, and afterward by 
the French. 

2666.— Island taken by Eng- 
lish adventurers, but their 
garrison of fifty men was 
captured by stratagem by 

, twenty-five French from 
Grenada, who remained 
here a year, when they 
withdrew, set fire to every- 
thing combustible, and 
the island was again aban- 
doned and left without 
an inhabitant, for the 
second time since Euro- 
pean occupation ! 

i675.— English take Tobago 
from the Dutch, who had 
again settled there, after 
French abandonment. 

i677.— The fair island 
seemed fated to be the 
scene of war and desola- 
tion, for the Dutch, hav- 
ing once more returned, 
were set upon by the Eng- 
lish, under command of 
Sir Tobias Bridges, who 
drove them out and 
brought away four hun- 
dred prisoners and many 


History of Peru, an Eng- 
lish translation of which 
appeared in London 
about 1700, and Defoe 
most probably saw it. , 

The island is still called 
Serrano, or Pearl Island, 
and lies in latitude 14° N. 

1632,—OTusoe bom. 

16Ji3, — Juan Fernandez vis- 
ited by Captain Tasman, 
a Dutch navigator. 

1659, — Crusoe voyages from 
Brazil to Africa, in quest 
of slaves. 

1659, — ^Wrecked on a deso- 
late island, the last pre- 
vious observation having 
placed him 12° and some 
minutes north of the 

i66i.— Defoe born. 

2676.— Selkirk bom. 

1681. — English buccaneer. 
Captain Watlin, chased 
from Juan Fernandez by 
three Spanish ships ; 
leaves on the island a 
Mosquito Indian, who 
was out hunting for 

i6<?^.— This Indian found 
here by Captain Dampier. 

1686. — Crusoe rescued. 

1687. — Arrives in England. 




negroes. The Dutch again 
settled there, but in 1677, 
the French then being at 
war with Holland, the 
Count d^Estrees, then in 
command of a large fleet 
in West Indian waters, 
was ordered to proceed 
against Tobago. The fleet 
came to anchor in Palmit 
Bay, and then stood in to 
engage the Dutch ships, 
while a large force 
stormed the castle. Both 
were repulsed, with a loss 
of a hundred and fifty 
killed and two hundred 
wounded, and D^Estrees^s 
flagship of seventy guns 
was blown up and two 
others stranded. The 
Dutch were left victori- 
ous, though at great loss. 
The fleet returned to France, 
but came back in October 
with twenty sail of war 
and a great number of 
smaller craft, on board 
which were fifteen hun- 
dred land forces. On the 
10th D^Estrees summoned 
Herr Binker to surrender, 
and on the 12th com- 
menced throwing fire 
balls into the castle. The 


1695, — Revisits his island. 

i7(?j?.— Selkirk leaves Eng- 
land on a buccaneering 

1705, — Crusoe's narrative 
ends ; Crusoe then sev- 
enty-two years old. 

i70P.__Captain Woods Ror- 
ers discovers Selkirk on 
Juan Fernandez, where 
he had lived four years 
and four months. 

i7ia— Selkirk's journal 
published : " Providence 
displayed, or a very sur- 
prizing Account of one 
Mr. Alexander Selkirk, 
Master of a Merchant 
Man called the Cinque 
Ports ; who, dreaming 
that the Ship would soon 
after be lost, he desired to 
be left on a Desolate Is- 
land in the South Seas, 
where he lived 4 Years 
and 4 Months, without 
seeing the Face of Man ; 
the Ship being afterwards 
cast away, as he dreamed. 

" As also, how he came after- 
ward to be miraculously 
preserved and redeemed 
from that fatal Place, by 
two Bristol Privateers, 
called the Duke and 




third ball blew up the 
magazine, killing all the 
officers, and the works 
were immediately 

stormed, taken, and de- 

Finding nothing more 
which seemed capable of 
destruction, the victors 
abandoned the prize for 
which they had been so 
eagerly contending, and 
Tobago was once more 
consigned to that solitude 
in which it was first dis- 

1679, — Island restored to 
the Dutch. 


Duchess, that took the 
rich Acapulco Ship, with 
100 Ton of Qold, and 
brought it to England. 

" To which is added an Ac- 
count of his Life and 
Conversation, his Birth 
and Education; his de- 
scription of the Island 
where he was cast away : 
how he subsisted ; the 
several strange Things he 
saw ; and how he used to 
spend his Time ; with also 
some pious Ejaculations 
that he used, composed 
during his melancholy 
Residence there. Written 
by his own Hand, and 
attested by most of the 
eminent Merchants upon 
the Royal Exchange." 

1719, — Robinson Crusoe 

i7^5.— Selkirk died. 

i75i.— Defoe died. 

1741. — Lord Anson visited 
Juan Fernandez. 

i^^^—Tobago was added to the list of neutral islands, 
comprising Dominica, St Vincent, and St. Lucia, 
which were only to be visited for wood and water. 
In 1748 the French attempted a settlement, which 
was taken by the English in 1762, and confirmed in 
their possession by treaty in 1763. '* Thus the foun- 


dation was laid of the first permanent colony that, 
through a train of disastrous circumstances, had 
ever been permitted to flourish within its shores." 
Of the several towns built at different times nothing 
remains but a stone here aud there. 

17Jf8, — French undertake a colony, but abandon it. 

1757. — Solitary exile found there. A tale is current, ac- 
cording to historian Southey, that smacks somewhat 
of Robinson Crusoe, only the event transpired after 
Crusoe was written. One day in 1757 a midshipman 
landed here, from the ship Sterling Castle of the 
royal navy, where the Europeans had no settlement. 
Having wandered into the woods in search of wild 
oranges, he was surprised at the discovery of a hut, 
the occupant of which, a venerable man, addressed 
him in French. He declared he had resided twenty- 
one years in that solitary situation, having scarcely 
any communication with human beings. The In- 
dians, he said, would sometimes call at his hermit- 
age when hunting, give him part of their game, and 
shave his beard off with their knives. He had been 
a priest at Martinique, but advancing some tenet 
which gave offense, he was seized in the night and 
transported to Tobago. Offers were made to con- 
vey him to Europe, which he declined, saying that 
he was perfectly reconciled to his situation, and 
happier than he could be in any other. 

We are told by the author from whom the above is quoted 
(Southey) that in 1768 a human skeleton was dug 
up on a plantation called Somerville, with gold brace- 
lets on the arms, supposed to have been deposited 
there before the island was known to Europeans. 

1762. — Tobago taken by the English, who were confirmed 
in their possession. 

1763. — The year in which Josephine was born, in the near 
island of Martinique. 


1781, — The French again took the island, effecting a 
landing at Plymouth, Great Courland Bay. Being 
driven out of this place, they retreated to the woods 
in the center of the island. There are traces of a 
military road there yet, and old cannon lying in 
the woods at Bloody Bay. 

179S, — ^Tohago once more English. 

1802. — Ceded to the French. Tobago had a voice in the 
election of Bonaparte. 

1802. — ^As the one-time residence of our great privateer, 
John Paul Jones, Tobago may interest historians. 

1505.— -Taken by the English. 

18H. — Finally ceded to the English, in whose possession 
this unfortunate island, the bruised and shattered 
shuttlecock of many wars, has since remained. 

For nearly ninety years, now, Tobago has been English, 
and, although nearly all its inhabitants are blacks 
or colored people, they are loyal to the crown that 
emancipated them, in 1838. 

The journal of Sir William Young, in 1792, gives us a 
good account of the island and clear conception of the 
powerful currents that set in about Tobago, caused by the 
water of the Orinoco : ** Tuesday, 4 P. M., Tobago in sight, 
our course close to the wind, making for the body of the 
island. Wednesday, close in with the land, and most of 
the day beating to windward with a strong lee current. 
In the afternoon off Man-o'-war Bay. Thursday, found 
our ship at daybreak nearly where she was the preceding 
sunset. Friday, at sunrise, off Queen^s Bay, on the lee- 
ward coast, whence we ran down with both wind and cur- 
rent in our favor, and anchored in Rocky Bay about 

Says an ancient historian, writing in 1666 : '^ The first 
and most southerly of all the Caribbees is Tobago, or To- 
bac (where tobacco was found, and from which it re- 


ceived its name), distant from the equinoctial northward 
11°»16'. It is about eight leagues in length and four in 
breadth. There are in it several pleasant mountains, out 
of which arise eighteen springs or small rivers, which, 
having drenched the plain, fall into the sea. The extraor- 
dinary height of the trees growing in this island argues 
the fruitfulness of the soil. There are here five kinds of 
four-footed creatures, whereof there are but one or two in 
any other island — viz., a kind of swine (peccary) not much 
furnished with bristles, which have a certain hole or navel 
in their backs ; 2, the tatoui (armadillo) ; 3, the agouti 
(small mammal, like a hare) ; 4, opossum ; and 5, muskrat ; 
not to mention the woodquits, turtles, partridges, parrots, 
and other birds not known in Europe.'' 

In fact, Tobago is well known to the native hunters as 
the abode of numerous specimens of rare and beautiful 
birds, and from this island thousands of their skins have 
been sent to the markets of Europe. 

It has now been in English possession for nearly 
ninety years. It is mountainous and forest-covered, and 
has a fertile soil but partially cultivated. Climate and 
vegetation are purely tropical; and, if any good man 
wishes to go there and take up any of the crown land, he 
can obtain the same, suitable for the raising of cacao, nut- 
megs, arrowroot, etc., at from two and a half to five dol- 
lars per acre. It has an area of about one hundred and 
fourteen square miles, with a population (mostly black and 
colored) of some eighteen thousand. There are only two 
towns on the island, the larger and the capital, Scar- 
borough, having a population of about a thousand souls. 

The description of Sir William Young, written a hun- 
dred years ago, will apply well, even yet : " In traversing 
the country I was much struck with its beauty, from the 
flat at Sandy Point [the southern end] quietly breaking 
into bills, till ultimately, at the northeast, it became a 
scene of mountains and woods. From the very point of 


the town of Port Louis [now Scarborough] the country 
became hilly, and as you farther advance the hills rise 
into mountains, not broken and rugged as the convulsed 
[volcanic] country of St. Vincent, but regular although 
steep, and on an enlarged scale of ascent and descent. 
The scene of Nature is on an extensive scale, and gives 
the idea of a continent rather than an island. It is not 
alone the vicinity to the Spanish Main that suggests this 
idea ; the appearance of the island fully warrants the as- 
sumption, and the contiguity of South America only more 
fully marks its being torn from there, and of its being, in 
old times, the southern point or promontory of the vast 
Bay of Mexico." 

Here we find the substance of Humboldt's and Kings- 
ley's statements, before either of them ever looked upon 
the West Indies. Tobago lies in N. latitude 11° 0', longi- 
tude W. 60° 46'. It expands nearly northeast and south- 
west ; taking a line drawn through its center longitudi- 
nally, as an index of its bearing, it is thirty-two miles long 
and from six to nine broad. " With the exception of seven 
miles of level land, now covered with wood, Tobago shows 
generally a surface broken and rumpled by alternate 
stretches of steep hills and deep and narrow ravines, shoot- 
ing direct or winding from the main or dorsal ridge of the 
mountain, and from these branches, as though torn off, 
stand occasionally aloof beautiful mounds of isolated hills. 
Utmost height of the mountain range computed at eighteen 
hundred feet. The island is well watered by rivulets and 
streams. A belt of cultivation extends halfway round its 
southern, eastern, and western sides." 


And Stkakos Svr7b.izino 



Of rORX, Mariner: 

Who lived eight and twenty Years all alone in 
an un-inliabited Ifland on the Coaft of America, 
near the Mouth ot the Great River oiOrsonoqut ; 

Having been caft on Shore by Shipwreck, where- 
in all the Men periQied but himfelf. 

With an ACCOUNT how he wai kt lafl as 
ftnngely delivcr'd by Fykatzs. 

TVritttn bi mmjaf. 

■Xde 'ittifco (Cnitfon. 

LONDO N: Printed for \V. Taylor at the 
Ship in PaUr-NoJler-Rov!. Mctccxix. 

Title-page of " CniBoe." 



*'. . . It was stated some time since, in a magazine, 
that Defoe first met with the name * Robinson Crusoe ' on 
a tombstone in a graveyard, at Lynn Regis. . . . During 
the war between France and Great Britain, in the early 
part of the present century, John Crusoe, of Lynn Regis, 
was in the navy, and participated in the glorious action of 
Trafalgar. In 1815 he emigrated to Fayetteville, N. C, 
where he resided many years. A diary of his voyages in 
his own handwriting is in existence, and gives evidence of 
scholarship and a mind of more than ordinary caliber. 
In 1835 he visited Europe, and his diary is filled with in- 
teresting evidences of his journey. His grandchildren are 
now, and have been for some years, highly esteemed resi- 
dents of Versailles (?), United States, and one of them bears 
the name of Robinson Du Bretz Crusoe. From this gen- 
tleman we learn that Robinson has always been a family 
name with his people, and this is confirmed by the diary 
of Captain Crusoe, who speaks of a nephew named Robin- 
son, whom he saw on a visit to Lynn Regis in 1835." — 
From Bow Bells, London, October, 1877. Evidently copied. 



" What I am to tell you about Robinson Crusoe I had 
from my father, who had it from his father, who saw it 
himself ; and what is more, you will find it confirmed in 
the official logbook of the voyage ; for, after I heard the 
yam told in the family circle, I took the trouble to see if 
it conformed with the account given by the voyagers to 
the Government. 

** My grandfather shipped for a privateering voyage to 
the South Seas, in 1703. The vessel was the Cinque Ports, 


a galley, mounting sixteen guns and carrying sixty-three 
men, commanded by Captain Pickering. The crew was 
chiefly Irish and Scotch, and among the latter was a 
chap named Alexander Selkirk, from Largo, county of 

" While upon the coast of Brazil the Cinque Ports lost 
her commander, and the first mate, Stradling, was ap- 
pointed in his place. In January, 1704, they doubled Cape 
Horn and bore away for the island of Juan Fernandez, 
which was the place of rendezvous they had agreed upon, 
and which several of the men on board had visited before. 
They arrived at Juan Fernandez in March, and the vessel 
being somewhat leaky they determined to beach and calk 
her. With this view her guns and stores were hoisted 
out, and tents erected to accommodate the ship's company. 
After the vessel was repaired and preparations were being 
made to resume the cruise, two French men-of-war hove 
in sight, heading for the port, and as our vessel was no 
better than a pirate and would assuredly have been cap- 
tured and the crew condemned to the galleys had they re- 
mained, she slipped her cables and ran away, leaving on 
shore three of the crew, who were employed at some dis- 
tance from the port in getting wood and water. Of these 
three men my grandfather was one, and Alexander Sel- 
kirk another. The third man was Irish, and belonged to 

*' They remained on this island for six months, during 
which time they explored every part of it, and became 
convinced of its delightful climate and abundant resources. 
Selkirk, it seems, had made up his mind to remain even 
before they were left on the island. In view of this re- 
solve he had pilfered many articles from the ship while 
she was undergoing repairs, and had hidden them in the 
sand. Some of these he would bring forth when their 
necessities urged, but as he had many hiding places they 
never could force him to disclose his whole stock. 


" In October the Cinque Ports entered the liarbor and 
took them on board ag^in ; when Selkirk, having been 
caught in pilfering, Captain Stradling suddenly put him 
ashore and declared he should never enter the vessel again. 
Accordingly, the vessel sailed without him, nobody re- 
gretting his loss, for he had been boatswain of the ship 
and was of surly humor. Before the vessel sailed he was 
furnished with abundance of provision. 

" In August, 1708, my grandfather enlisted in another 
expedition to the South Seas, this time under royal author- 
ity. The commander's name was Rogers, the first lieuten- 
ant Courtney, and the second lieutenant a certain Dr. 
Thomas Dover, a physician well known as the inventor of 
Dover's powders. All three had shares in the expedition. 

" After making the Brazils and rounding Cai)e Horn 
they bore away for Juan Fernandez, where they arrived 
on February 1, 1709, and after coming to an anchor sent a 
boat ashore for fresh water. In a short time she returned, 
not only with the water, but a supply of crawfish and a 
man clothed in goatskins, whose looks were as wild as his 
attire was uncouth. This proved to be no other than 
Alexander Selkirk, whom Captain Stradling had left on 
the island four years and four months previously, and who 
might have got away on several occasions when ships 
touched there, but that he preferred to remain. Having 
at length resolved to leave it, he availed himself of our 
arrival, and removed his effects on board the Duke, of 
which he was appointed mate. 

"When abandoned to his fate he had with him his 
clothes and bedding, firearms, ammunition, tools, cooking 
utensils, farming implements, mathematical instruments, 
books, provisions, and an old anchor and cable, which the 
Cinque Ports had abandoned on the beach. He was well 
acquainted with the island, having roamed it for six 
months before he was left upon it, and already had a vege- 
table garden in a forward state of cultivation. There were 


plenty of goats on the island, plenty of trees, plenty of shell- 
fish, and plenty of fresh water. The climate is so favor- 
able that the trees and grass preserve a perpetual verdure. 
The winter ends in June or July. The hottest season is 
in January. There is but little frost or snow. The rainy 
season lasts from August to April, the heavy rains from 
November to March. There is no venomous or savage 
creature in the place — indeed, no large quadruped except 
goats. During Selkirk's stay upon the island he killed 
five hundred goats for food and skins— this was an aver- 
age of about one to every three days. He also caught five 
hundred more for diversion and marked them on the ear» 
then set them at liberty. His method of catching them 
was by his superior swiftness of foot. To test this he was 
matched one day against a bulldog from the Duke, when 
he outstripped both the dog and the wild goats they were 
pursuing. This was before Captain Eogers's ship left the 
island. Selkirk built two huts of pimento wood, covered 
with long grass and lined with goatskins in place of lath 
and plaster. These were visited by most of us, although 
the way was so rugged and intricate that we reached them 
with great difficulty. So far was Selkirk from being anx- 
ious to leave the island, that he built his residence where 
it could scarcely hope to be seen and where no one could 
have penetrated without his guidance. During his soli- 
tude several Spanish ships put into the port, but he never 
went near them, for fear they might condemn him to the 
slavery of the gold mines in Chili, which, he said, was 
worse than hanging, for it was perpetual labor with in- 
sufficient food, and no escape but a slow and loathsome 
death. One of these parties of Spaniards saw and pursued 
him, but he managed to escape and hide himself in a tree. 
Presently they came and sat down at the foot of this same 
tree, but did not discover him and soon went away. 

'* One day in pursuing a goat he overtook his prey on 
the verge of a precipice of which he was not aware, and 


before he could recover himself down he went, holding 
fast to the goat He fell a prodigious depth, and then lay 
stunned and bruised for twenty-four hours. On recover- 
ing his mind he saw the goat dead under him, which had 
thus broken his fall. He was so much hurt that it was 
with infinite pains be regained his hut, which was a mile 
off, and it was ten days before he went abroad again. 

" He had hundreds of cats about him. These he fed 
upon goat's flesh, and he kept them in training to seize 
the rats, of which there were prodigious numbers, bred 
from some that had escaped the ship when they were 
beached. He had also domesticated several kids, and 
used to dance and caper with them to divert his languor. 
He said he had never realized how much he was indebted 
to society until he was quite bereft of it, and that this had 
cured him of his previous surliness. 

" Selkirk was about thirty years of age when we took 
him aboard, and was full of health and vigor. It was a 
most surprising thing that, although he had kept up his 
acquaintance with the English language by reading over 
and over the several books he had by him, he could scarce 
speak it when we found him. He understood very well 
what he read, but gathered with difficulty that which we 
spoke to him. A better sailor than Selkirk never trod a 
plank, and. before he returned to England he wrote down 
all his adventures in a logbook, and had great hopes of 
making a fortune by them when he got safe at home and 
could sell them to some bookseller. On the 10th of Janu- 
ary we left Puerto Seguro and sailed for the Dutch East 
Indies, and so around the world to England, which we 
only reached in October, 1711. 

"By this time Selkirk was fully recovered of his 
wound, and going up to London he made the acquaintance 
of a fellow some ten years his senior, who had once been a 
hosier, by the name of Daniel Foe, but who was now a 
penny-a-liner for small newspapers, with the pompous 

Providence Difplay'd, 

Or a very Surprizing 



Mr- Alexander Selkirk^ 

MafJ:er of a Merchant-Man calFd the Cinque'^ 
Ports J who Dreaming that the Ship would 
foon after be loll, he defired to be left on 
a Dcfolate Ifland in the South^Seas^ where 
he liv'd Four Years and Four Months, with- 
out feeing the Face of Man, the Ship be- 
ing afterwards caft away as he Dreamed. 


How he came afterwards to be miraculoufly Prcfcrv'd 
and Redeemed from that fatal Place, by Two Briflol 
Privateers, call'd the Duke aiid Dutchefi; that took 
the Rich Aquapulco Ship worth One Hundred Tunn 
of Gold, and Drought it to BnglanJ. 

To which is added. 

An Account of his Life and Converfation, Biith, and 
Education. His Defcription of the Ifland where he 
was caft; how he iubfifted ; the feveral (Irange 
Things he faw, and how he us'd to fpend his Time* 
With Ibme Pious Ejaculations that he ufed. Com* 
pos'd during his Melancholy Refidence there. 

IVrinen ly his 4>wn Hand^ and atteflcd iy m^^ iff the 
Emineut Merchants upon the Royal Ex changb> 

London: Printed by J.Read^mWbite-Fryert. 171 x. 

Title-page of Selkirk's Journal, 1712. 



title of Defoe. He had formerly sold stockings in Free- 
man's Court, Comhill, and becoming bankrupt had gone 
to writing squibs. This fellow ingratiated himself with 
Selkirk to such purpose that they made a bargain to pub- 
lish the latter's adventures in Juan Fernandez, Selkirk to 
furnish the materials, Foe or Defoe to prepare them for 
publication, and each to derive an equal benefit from the 
publication. But Defoe, instead of carrying out this com- 
pact in honest, good faith, made Selkirk repeat his story 
over and over, until he got it by heart, and then wrote it 
down himself in pnvate. 

"So ill did he this, aud with such ignorance of the 
facts, that he first strips Robinson Crusoe of all his clothes, 
then makes him swim ashore with his pockets full of 
biscuits. He then weeps over the loss of his clothes, which 
are washed away by the tide, knowing all the while that 
he possessed a chest full of other clothes. He sees the 
goat's eyes in a cave, which, albeit, is pitch dark. The 
Spaniards give the imaginary Friday's father an agree- 
ment in writing, albeit they possess neither ink nor paper. 
Friday is well acquainted with the habits of bears, albeit 
bears were never seen in these parts. Indeed, one might 
write a book full of the inaccuracies of this tale. 

** After writing out Selkirk's story, Defoe sold it to a 
publisher, and it proved to be so diverting as at once to 
make his fortune. He who had so long been poor and 
miserable, a low retainer at taverns and a hired spy, now 
bought him a fine house at Stoke Newington and set up 
for a gentleman, with horses and stables and a pleasure 
ground. When Selkirk visited this place to demand a 
share of what he had been promised he was repulsed." 

" From the faithful and minute records kept in the old 
church at Largo, in county Fife, Scotland," says another 
writer, " it is known that Alexander Selkirk, or * Selcraig ' 
— as the name was originally spelled — was bom in 1676 ; 
and that he was the son of John Selcraig, the village shoe- 


maker. The fact that he was the seventh son born to his 
parents, without an intervening daughter, is believed to 
have exerted no little influence upon the famous adven- 
turer's life, for the leniency and partiality which his moth- 
er exercised toward him was, no doubt, in part the result 
of her belief in the old Scottish superstition which held 
that a seventh son, born in an unbroken succession of 
male children, was destined to achieve both fame and 

" The constant sight of the ships in Largo Bay, and a 
familiarity with the sailors who came ashore, naturally 
turned the thoughts and expectations of the shoemaker's 
son in the direction of the sea, and, while attending the 
village school, he took up the study of navigation and 
made no little progress in its mastery. His ambition in 
this direction probably received a needless stimulus by re- 
flecting upon the fame which had been won by Sir Andrew 
Wood, the hero of Largo, who became one of the most 
noted admirals of his day. 

" Much against his desire, Alexander was kept in his 
father's shop until he was nineteen years of age, when an 
inability or failure to control his merriment in church 
turned the whole course of his career. For this undigni- 
fied misdemeanor he was cited to appear before the * Kirk 
Session,' August 25, 1695. Two days later the following 
entry was made in the kirk record : ' Alexander Selcraig 
called out ; did not appear, having gone to sea. Continued 
until his return.' 

" Six years passed before the session had an opportunity 
to complete its business with the young truant, and his 
return would probably have been unnoticed by that body 
had he not become involved in a quarrel with his brothers, 
for which he suffered a severe humiliation. His punish- 
ment is described in the church records of November 30, 
1701, as follows : 

" * Alexander Selcraig, according to the session's ap- 


pointment, compeared before the pulpit, and made ac- 
knowledgment of his sin in disagreeing with his brothers, 
and was rebuked in the face of the congregation for it, 
and promised amendment in the strength of the Lord, and 
so was dismissed/ 

" With the spring of 1702 began the real career of the 
famous adventurer, who joined the buccaneering expe- 
dition of William Dampier as sailing master of the Cinque 

His subsequent adventures have been narrated in the 
preceding pages. 

" It was not until October, 1711, that Selkirk reached 
England, as a long and very successful cruise under Cap- 
tain Rogers had occupied him in the meantime. His 
share from the booty valued at a hundred and seventy 
thousand pounds, which the expedition captured from the 
Spaniards, was eight hundred pounds. This sum was, at 
that time, regarded as a substantial fortune. The follow- 
ing spring found Selkirk in the guise of a richly dressed 
stranger sitting in a back seat of the little Largo kirk, in 
which he had suffered such humiliation at the hands of 
the session, some nine years before. He had been to the 
old shoemaker's home, and finding no one within, had 
rightly concluded that his aged parents had gone to 
church. All eyes were fastened upon him, and before the 
service was over his mother startled the congregation 
with the cry : * It's Sandie I it's Sandie ! ' A moment later 
she was in the arms of the returned prodigal. 

" He made a brave attempt to settle down in his native 
village, but he constantly shunned all human society, 
dwelt in a cave which he constructed in a cliflP back of the 
old family home, and perpetually sighed for the peace and 
solitude of his island. He was much given to long sailing 
excursions to Kingscraig Point and rambles through the 
lonely valley of Keil's Den. 

*'In the course of the latter he met Sophia Bruce, a 


young shepherdess, and suddenly startled his people by an 
unannounced departure with her for London. He went 
to sea in 1717, executing: a will in her favor before taking 
his departure. Another surprise came to the Selkirk 
family in 1724, when a woman appeared in Largo to claim 
the property of Alexander Selkirk, as his widow. This 
she did by means of a will drawn by him and dated De- 
cember 12, 1720, and by a certificate of the death of * Lieu- 
tenant Alexander Selkirk,' who, according to that docu- 
ment, passed away on his Majesty's ship Weymouth, in 
1723, at the age of forty-seven years. 

" The Museum of the Society of Antiquaries, in Edin- 
burgh, now has the chest and cocoanut shell dipper which 
he used on the island. The family of S. E. Li^msdaine, 
Esq., of Lathallan, Scotland, owns his stoneware * flip- 
can,' and his * fire-lock ' is in the possession of his own 
descendants. The old Selkirk place in Largo is still 
known as the * Craggy Wall.' " 

To conclude : The authentic account of Selkirk's rescue 
from Juan Fernandez is contained in Captain Woodes 
Rogers's book, published in 1712, A Cruising Voyage 
around the World, under date of February 2, 1709, as 
follows: "Immediately our Pinnace return'd from the 
Shore and brought abundance of Crawfish, with a Man 
cloth'd in Qoat Skins, who looked wilder than the first 
owners of them, . . . His name was Alexander Selkirk." 


" There is a well-known drug called * Dover's powder,' 
which doctors use frequently to break up colds, and to 
* sweat' patients who have fevers. It is not generally 
known that the man who invented this powder was not 
only a physician of some little local reputation, nearly 
two hundred years ago, but also a notorious pirate. 

" Thomas Dover was bom in Warwickshire, England, 


about 1660. He studied in Cambridge, and later medi- 
cine in the office of the famous Dr. Sydenham. After 
awhile he settled down in the city of Bristol, which was 
an active shipping center, and one of the chief headquar- 
ters of all England for adventurers, privateers, and slave 

** Dr. Dover found the practice of medicine * too slow.' 
He had a love for adventure and life at sea. He stuck to 
medicine for some years, however, until a large commer- 
cial and piratical venture by a number of Bristol mer- 
chants came to his notice. Two ships, the Duke and the 
Duchess, were fitted out for a voyage to the South Seas. 
Dr. Dover went third in command and was known as 
Captain Dover. 

** On February 1, 1709, the ships arrived at the island of 
Juan Fernandez, and Captain Dover was sent ashore in a 
pinnace. He brought back with him, after two days, a 
man clad in goatskins, who had been left on the island 
four years before. This was Alexander Selkirk, the origi- 
nal ' Robinson Crusoe.' 

" Later, the expedition sailed up the South American 
coast and found the two cities of Guayaquil, which it 
attacked and sacked. Dover led the sailors, and when the 
plague broke out among them after the capture of the 
cities, he doctored and cured them with as much energy 
and skill as he had displayed in fighting the South Ameri- 

"After cruising in the Pacific for another two years 
for Spanish treasure ships, the expedition returned to Eng- 
land, in 1711, having collected nearly a million dollars' 
worth of plunder. Dover's share made him rich, and left 
him free to travel and gratify his philanthropic instincts 
as a physician. 

" He settled down in London as a physician in 1731, 
and wrote a book on the medical experience he had gath- 
ered in his * professional ' career. In one of these, in a 


chapter on the treatment of gout, he gives a prescription 
for the well-known powder which has made his name 
more famous than any of his other achievements. It reads 
as follows : * Take opium one ounce, saltpeter and tartar 
vitriolated each four ounces, ipecac one ounce. Put the 
salti)eter and tartar in a red-hot mortar, stirring with a 
spoon until they have done flaming. Then powder them 
very fine ; after that slice in your opium, grind them to a 
powder, and then mix the other powder with these. Dose, 
from forty to sixty grains in a glass of white wine posset, 
going to bed, covering up warm and drinking a quart or 
tlu-ee pints of the posset. Drink while sweating.' 

*' Unfortunately, the exact formula for making the 
posset has not been handed down, but it was probably a 
hot punch made of white wine fortified with brandy or 

" The publication of the book made a great commotion, 
and caused the other London doctors to call Dr. Dover a 
quack and a charlatan, but his powder is still used. Rob- 
inson Crusoe, founded on the Juan Fernandez episode, is 
still read, as every one knows, and the names of the Lon- 
don doctors who objected to Dr. Dover are all forgotten." 


" As we neared the island the sight was very fine. I 
think I have seldom seen a more remarkable and pic- 
turesque view than the approach to the anchorage pre- 
sented, composed as it was of great mountains, torn and 
broken into every conceivable fantastic shape, with deep 
ravines by which, during the winter months, the torrents 
swept down from the precipitous peaks and pinnacles, ris- 
ing one above the other, and culminating in a great mass 
three thousand feet high, named the Anvil. This is 
wooded from the summit to the base, where are indica- 
tions of its having been at one time cleared for cultivation. 


probably at the' time when the Spaniards had a colony 
here, for the stone walls which served to divide the in- 
closure are still to be seen. There are also the remains of 
a small fort and a few tumble-down shanties, in which at 
the present time dwell some forty or fifty people, who get 
a precarious living by rearing cattle, cutting wood, etc., 
for supplies to vessels that occasionally call here. 

^'It was late in the evening when we anchored in 
Cumberland Bay, in twenty-five fathoms — a pleasant, se- 
cluded spot, with precipitous cliffs all around us, and a 
good beach for landing and roads leading up to the set- 
tlement. Time would not permit a longer stay than two 
days here, and that was made the most of. All the places 
immortalized by Selkirk were visited — the caves, * His Val- 
ley,' * His Lookout,' etc. This gap is some two thousand 
feet above the level of the sea, and from it a glorious view 
was obtained, both north and south. ' Eobinson '<used to 
daily visit and wearily watch for the coming sail. Here 
her Majesty's ship Topaze, in 1863, placed a tablet 

'* Hill and dale were tramped over by naturalists and 
others, and numerous specimens of birds and plants ob- 
tained; and what was very acceptable, plenty of fresh 
food, for the bay proved a very prolific fishing ground, 
and from the settlement beef of an excellent quality was 
to be had. At the present time Juan Fernandez is leased 
to a Chilian, who employs the settlers in woodcutting, at- 
tending the cattle, and in the season seal-hunting, of 
which at times they capture large numbers (some they 
had on hand they were willing to sell at twelve to sixteen 
dollars each)." 



* One Swiss, two Germans, one Frenchman, one Portu- 
guese, and about twenty Chilians, men, women, and chil- 


dren, constitute the present population of the island of 
Juan Fernandez, on which the Scotch sailor, Alexander 
Selkirk, spent four years and four months. Seen from a 
distance the island looks almost like a fortress, with its 
tall, dark, granite cliffs rising without a break hundreds 
of feet from the turbulent surf of the shore. Yet, when 
one gets nearer a beautiful little bay about a quarter of 
a mile wide, offers a welcome to the seafarer, and recalls 
to mind the * little cove ' of Eobinson Crusoe. It forms 
a kind of cleft and opening in the wall of rock that lines 
the shore, and slopes gently upward into a valley extend- 
ing several miles inland to the base of the Yunque, the 
highest mountain of the island. Cumberland Bay is the 
name that has been given to this lovely and picturesque 
anchorage. Right on the shore are situated the houses 
of the inhabitants of the island, while to the rear of the 
little settlement, forming a delightful background, are 
green fields, gardens, orchards, and, in one word, the most 
charming landscape that can be imagined, rendered all 
the more striking by the contrast which is offered by the 
somber basaltic cliffs that rise on either side. 

** Indeed, the entire island, set in the blue of the Pa- 
cific Ocean, illuminated by the setting rays of a tropical 
sun, angry and forbidding in parts, adorned with the most 
luxuriant vegetation in other places and with its highest 
peak rising to a lofty altitude — ^an altitude so lofty, in fact, 
that it is often shrouded in the very clouds — offers a spec- 
tacle which once seen is never forgotten. 

" Many are the vicissitudes which the island has under- 
gone since it was occupied by Daniel Defoe's hero, * Rob- 
inson Crusoe.' In the early part of the century it was used 
for a time as a convict settlement, and in the walls of the 
cliff are to be found hundreds of dungeons hewn by the 
prisoners themselves in the heart of the rock. But the 
distance of the island from the mainland, as well as the 
difficulty experienced in keeping the garrison under proper 


surveillance and equipped with supplies, led to several 
outbreaks on the part of the prisoners, culminating in a 
massacre of both warders and troops. After this had oc- 
curred several times, the Chilian Government decided to 
abandon Juan Fernandez as a convict settlement. 

^* It was not until 1873 that the island was once more 
inhabited, when it was leased for a long term of years by 
a Swiss patrician named Baron von Rodt, who, having 
served in the Austrian cavalry, had been so badly wounded 
at the battle of Sadowa as to be unable to continue in 
active service as an officer of cavalry. He took part in 
the Franco-German War on the French side — ^not, how- 
ever as a combatant, but as a member of the ambulance 
department — ^and, being possessed of a considerable for- 
tune, quitted Europe for Valparaiso. Being of a misan- 
thropical turn of mind, he established himself on the island 
of Juan Fernandez, and, finding that the fisheries were of 
a character to constitute a source of revenue, he leased the 
island and engaged the services of a number of fishermen 
and laborers of one kind and another. For a time all 
went well, and periodically his tiny steamer might be seen 
casting anchor off Valparaiso laden with lobsters and 
fruit of various kinds, as well as other island produce. 
But at the time of the Chilian war with Peru, which in- 
terrupted communication with the mainland, all sorts of 
difficulties arose, and from a financial point of view the 
enterprise came to grief, the baron being compelled to sur- 
render his lease of the island to the Chilian Government. 
He returned to Europe, but found himself so little adapted 
for civilized life after his island experience, and so home- 
sick for his ocean home, that he set sail for Juan Fer- 
nandez again, taking along with him a charming lady, 
whom he had induced to share his lot. 

" And it is there on the pretty green island, far away 
from everywhere in the most important of the dozen villas 
that have been erected on the slope leading down to Cum- 


berland Bay, that he has made his home for good and all, 
residing there no longer as the master of the place, as in 
former times, but merely as the most highly educated and 
the wealthiest of its inhabitants. 

" He has surrounded himself with a good deal of lux- 
ury, especially as regards books, of which he is particu- 
larly fond, instruments, etc., and, with a grand piano in 
the salon and a thousand-dollar harp in his wife's boudoir, 
there is but little to recall the cave of Robinson Crusoe. 
The two most important inhabitants of the island after 
Baron von Rodt, or Don Alfredo as he is called there, are 
a couple of Germans : the one a broken-down professor of 
botany and chemistry, expelled for some reason or another 
from the Heidelberg University, but who is a man of 
great learning ; and the other a man who styles himself 
Don Eduardo Schreiber, and who had the honor of accom- 
panying Emperor Maximilian to Mexico in the capacity 
of cook. He is a most amusing individual, of jovial tem- 
perament, whose Mexican experiences are among the least 
exciting of his adventurous career, and who now endeav- 
ors to make a living by preserving and canning the tails 
of the lobsters which still abound there. The Frenchman, 
who alone represents his nation on Juan Fernandez, is a 
member of the medical profession, a physician of consid- 
erable skill and former standing, who, being compelled to 
fly for his life from France on account of his complicity 
with the Commune insurrection, drifted about from one 
place to another until he finally stranded on the island of 
Juan Fernandez." 

Such, then, is the erstwhile domain of Alexander 


Aerial dancers, 116. 
African witchcraft, 192. 
Agoutis, a pair of, 67. 
Ants, procession of, 62-56. 
Armadillo, habits of, 215-217. 
Arrowroot, planting and prepara- 
tion of, 99. 

Bamboos, 87, 80, 187. 

Bamboo bank, 189. 

Bananas, wild, 87. 

Bartram the botanist, in Florida, 

Bats and vampires, 85. 
Bird-spider, the, 282. 
Birds, how to capture, 117. 

Cacao trees and fruit, 86-88. 
Camp, my first, in Tobago, 10. 
Cannibal, derivation of the word, 

home of the, 142. 
Carib family, 151. 

giri, 158. 

implements of stone, 148. 

and Caribbees, 146-148. 
Cashew, fhiit and beverage, 185. 
Cassareep, or pepper-pot, 224. 
Cassava plant and flour, 91. 

Cassican, crested, 22-25. 
Cedar and cog-wood, 185. 
Centipede, the, 49. 
Cha-cha-la-ka, a bird of Yucatan, 

Chronological notes on Tobago, 

Cicadse, whistling of the, 167. 
Cockerricos, birds of Tobago, 75- 

Cocoa palm, 182. 

uses of, and nuts, 188, 184. 
Coffee trees and berried, 88, 90. 
Columbus, second and third voy- 
ages of, 144. 
Courland Bay, Tobago, 206. 
Crapaud, or edible frog, 212. 
Crown lands in Tobago, 209. 
Crown Point, Tobago, 206. 
Crusoe, Bobinson, a coward, 12. 

as a hunter, 18. 

costume of, 18. 

his island, 8, 4, 147. 

shipwreck of, 4, 208-205. 

his cave, 206. 

his great canoe, 186. 

his Man Friday, 142, 149. 

finds footprint on the sands, 144. 

a modem, 258. 




Crusoe, origin of name, 258. 
portrait of, 252. 
title-page of hia book, 257. 

Defoe, tlie conning alchemiat, 155. 

where he got hia story, 154. 

what hia aocusers said, 262. 
Devilfish, in the coils of a, 240. 
Dover, Dr., at Juan Fernandez, 

Drake the Sea King, 267. 

Farine, or cassava flour; 223. 

Fer de lance, a poisonous serpent, 

Fevers of Tobago, 165. 
Fire beetles and fireflies, 49. 
Flycatchers, species of, 125. 
Frigate bird, the, 71. 
Frogs, some tropical, 123. 

Gallinules, beautiful, 235. 
Garden, a tropical, 27. 
my labor in the, 94. 
Glyptodon, or fossil armadillo, 217. 
God bird, or native wren, 127. 
Grugru palms, 133. 

Happy family, 66. 
Home on the Hilltop, my, 97. 
House-building in the tropics, 98. 
Humming birds, curious actions of, 

the sicklebill and nest. 111. 

home of the, 112. 

species of, in Tobago, 115. 

in Juan Fernandez, 115. 
Hurricane, the great, 218. 

effects of, 220. 

Iguana, capturing the, 188. 
Indians, distribution of, 36. 

Jabiru, the South American, 235. 
Jacamar, nest and eggs of the, 39. 
Jimcrack, the wicked parrot, 169. 
Jones, John Paul, in Tobago. 254. 
Juan Fernandez, island of, 3, 5, 270, 

J umbo- Jocko, the boa constrictor, 


Jumbies, or evil spirits, 177. 

King of the Woods, 2, 7, 33, 40, 178. 

Laughing gull, habits of the, 72. 
Lost in the woods, 79. 

Maize, discovery of, 93. 
Man Friday, Crusoe's, 142. 

a Carib, 145. 

portrait of, 150. 

a modem, 167. 
Manakin, atrial dance of the, 118 

et seq. 
Man-o*-war birds, 71. 
Mocking birds, song and range of, 
78, 101. 

Nelson, Lord, poisoned by manohi- 

neel, 141. 
Night hawk, strange actions of a, 


Obeah charms, 191. 

Orinoco River, currents of the, 

etc., 4. 
Ortalis ruflcauda, or cockerrico, 76. 

Palms of the forest, 22. 
Parrot apple, tree and fruit, 20. 
Parrots, wild, of Tobago, 43, 62-65. 
Psittacus festivus, or Tobago par- 
rot, 47, 59,210-221. 
Pearls and pearl fishing, 236-240.^ 



Peccaries, encounter with, 157 et 

Pelicans and penguins, 72. 
Pigeons known to Crusoe, 69. 
Pineapple plants, 95. 
Polly Crusoe, 63. 

Raccoon, capture of the, 67. 
Kainy season, opening of the, 122. 

occupations of the, 129, 180. 
Raleigh, Sir Walter, 8, 90, 145. 
Razor grass, tangled in the, 20. 
Remora, fishing with the, 280. 
Ruhy humming bird, nest and eggs 
of, 104. 

Sargasso Sea, crossing the, 7. 

Scarborough and environs of, 199, 

ScissoTstail flycatchers, 124. 

Selkirk, Alexander, 8, 155, 258-267. 
and Crusoe, chronological list, 

Selkirk's narrative, title-page of, 
island, 269. 
journal, 250. 

Serpent, in peril from a, 78. 

Serrano, Pedro, casting away of, 

Shakespeare's ^* Caliban" a Carib, 

Sharks, narrow escape from, 15-17. 
catching with remora, 229. 

Soapberry, or natural soap, 108. 

Song birds of the tropics, 106. 

Spoonbill, a species of small fly- 
catcher, 108. 

Sugar plantation, visit to a, 197. 
Swizzle-sticks, or natural ^stir- 
abouts," 186. 

Tania and taro, 94. 

Tarantulas, pests of the tropics, 

Terns, or sea swallows, tamed by 

me, 68. 
Thomas Ned, my black *^Man 

Friday," 174 et seq., 242. 
Tobacco, discovered in Tobago, 90, 

Tobago, island of, 8, 6, 7, 9. 
wrecked on coral reef of, 8. 
my first camp in, 10. 
the true Crusoe's island, 247. 
history and resources of, 247- 
Trinidad, island of, 8, 6, 242. 
Trogons of Tobago, 42. 

of Mexico, 45. 
Tropic bird, the, 69-71. 
Tropical forest, trees, etc., of the, 

\ZQ etaeq. 
Turtles and turtle eggs, 96. 

Wallace, Mr. Alfred, on the Ama- 
zons, 54. 

Whip snake, a fight with the, 127. 

Wild dog, native, or raccoon, 67. 

Woodes Rogers, Captain, rescues 
Selkirk, 267. 

Wren, or " God bird," of Tobago, 

Wreck of Crusoe's vessel, 5, 206. 
at Crown Point, Tobago, 202. 

Wrecked on a coral reef, 7. 



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